The 2020 plague year election was a bad precedent superspreader and the hazardous materials cleanup is still ongoing. At least 528 ballot boxes were installed in Wisconsin this year after some guidelines on the matter were followed by the state Electoral Commission. On Friday, the state Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that such drop boxes are illegal.
The Code states that absentee ballots “must be mailed by the voter or handed to the clerk of the parish”. As the majority opinion wryly states, “An inanimate object, like a ballot box, can’t be the town clerk.” While dropboxes should make voting easier, the majority is right: “Good intentions never break the law.”
The court also ruled that voters must deliver their ballots “in person” to the court clerk, which will prevent vote-collecting. The majority does not comment on whether third parties can legally “put a postal vote in the mailbox on behalf of the voter”, but the writing is on the wall.
The ruling is also likely to increase Republicans’ appetite for an overhaul of the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC). The court says the 2020 drop box memos were issued by WEC administrative staff “who did not cite any statutes to support their invention.”
This is a win for the rule of law. Many states allow ballot boxes under different security regulations, but the choice rests with the people’s representatives in a legislature. When bureaucrats try to stretch the rules instead of running elections by the book, they give the losing side a reason to complain badly. Speaking of which, does anyone want to guess what President Trump said about it on Friday?
“That means I won the very hard-fought (actually not!) Wisconsin presidential race,” said the Sisyphus of Mar-a-Lago. Not really. If anything, the fact that it took until the summer of 2022 for a final decision on the matter to cast doubt on the competence of his campaign.
Mr. Trump lost Wisconsin by 20,682 votes, and he trailed the state’s GOP congressmen by 63,547. Split tickets from Republicans explain more than why Mr. Trump fell short. Mailboxes were an unlawful method of delivery, but when real Wisconsinits put real ballots in them, as instructed by local officials, it’s not “fraud.” Judges are unlikely to discard legitimate votes after the fact.
That’s exactly what happened in Wisconsin. Mr. Trump only shook the state’s voting procedures after his defeat. He then asked the courts to void 28.4% of Milwaukee County’s votes based on contested practices that were taking place across the state. This case failed. The drop box lawsuit, decided Friday, was filed in 2021 by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. If Mr. Trump was so opposed to Dropboxing, why didn’t he file a lawsuit earlier in 2020 when the WEC memos were issued?
Former Attorney General Bill Barr said on a recent podcast that Mr Trump was duly warned to hire solid lawyers working to defend the voting processes as usual.
“One of his assistants walked in and said, ‘You need to set up a fund of $20 to $30 million in escrow because lawyers don’t trust you to pay their bills and you need to get a top-notch law firm here,'” Mr. Barr said. “He ignored that advice. He didn’t have a legal team prepared to fight across the country. So a lot of that, bending the pitch, was his own fault.”
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Appeared in the July 9, 2022 print edition as “Wisconsin Drop Boxes Are Illegal”.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/wisconsin-dropboxes-are-illegal-donald-trump-2020-election-supreme-court-voting-11657312986 Wisconsin Ballot Drop Boxes Are Illegal