Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Wisconsin Supreme Court’s liberal justices appear willing to overturn ruling that barred most ballot drop boxes

By 37ci3 May13,2024

The Wisconsin Supreme Court appeared poised Monday to overturn a ruling that banned the use of most ballot boxes in the state less than two years ago.

Doing so would effectively restore the use of most of those boxes in Wisconsin — a decision that could have major ramifications in the crucial battleground state of the 2024 presidential election.

Court in 2022 when conservatives have a 4-3 majority ruled to significantly reduce the number of ballot drop boxes in the state. But the ideological control of the technical neutral court turned into He appealed to the Liberals last year, setting off a chain of events that allowed the court to overturn that decision.

In oral arguments Monday, the four liberal justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court repeatedly felt the court got it wrong 22 months ago, and many noted that state law is silent on the issue of special boxes. The liberal justices on the bench used their time to dismiss conservative claims that the use of such boxes was a source of fraud in previous elections.

“To be clear, there is nothing in the statutes that says drip boxes are unauthorized or illegal,” said the court’s liberal Justice Jill Karofsky.

At another point, Karofsky noted that Wisconsin statutes “talk about mandatory voting privilege,” but that such statutes also “need to be carefully regulated to avoid the potential for fraud or abuse.” the progressive group that filed the lawsuit said there was “no evidence of any fraud or abuse of ballot boxes in 2020.”

Karofsky was one of three liberals who dissented in the July 2022 ruling, which wrote at the time that the drop boxes should be considered legal and constitutional.

Janet Protasiewicz, whose victory in the 2023 Wisconsin Supreme Court race gave liberals their first majority in 15 years, has repeatedly signaled that she joins the three justices in that opinion.

In particular, Protasiewicz rejected claims by lawyers seeking to uphold the 2022 decision, arguing that the “view order” doctrine — a judicial concept that judges must broadly respect legal precedents when preparing and writing opinions — should not be relied upon. situation. He and other liberal justices noted that conservative lawyers and judges, including those pushing to uphold the 2022 ruling, have rejected the concept in the past.

“I want to talk to you a little bit about the review decision,” Protasiewicz said. “I have a full list of cases in oral arguments or briefs where you’ve urged this court to depart from the review decision. If you want, we can go through them.”

“Why is the review decision so critically unique in this particular case?” he added.

A few minutes ago, Karofsky spoke about the US Supreme Court’s 2022 Roe v. He specifically read from his opinion overturning his case against Wade, in which he rejected the conservative majority’s review decision.

“‘Roe was very wrong from the start. Its reasoning was extremely weak. And the decision had harmful consequences,'” Karofsky read. A line from the US Supreme Court opinion.

“If we believe that Teigen was seriously wrong from the start, that his reasoning was extremely weak, and that the decision had harmful consequences, here’s what we should do,” he said. The 2022 case decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court is titled Teigen v. Wisconsin Election Commission.

Karofsky added that if those three points were criteria for overturning the decision, then the case before the court was “check, check, check.”

Meanwhile, conservatives on the court expressed continued doubts about the widespread use of ballot boxes.

“My understanding is that you’re arguing that not having drop boxes as a method of returning ballots is unconstitutional, and I don’t understand that at all,” said Brian Hagedown, a conservative justice on the bench.

“As written, the statute does not permit the use of what are colloquially referred to as drop boxes,” said Conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley.

“Where does the text refer to drop boxes or something like a drop box?” he asked.

Monday’s oral arguments marked the latest chapter in the ongoing saga over the use of pop-up boxes in Wisconsin, a key swing state.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission, which oversees elections in the state, introduced more relaxed rules regarding the use of drop boxes in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

But in a case brought by conservative groups, the state Supreme Court ruled that Wisconsin voters who cast absentee ballots in July 2022 could not drop them off in drop boxes located anywhere other than election clerks’ offices. It ruled that only the Republican-controlled state Legislature, not the Wisconsin Elections Commission, had the authority to enact laws and policies regarding ballot boxes.

After the liberals regained their majority on the court in 2023, the progressive US political action committee Priorities publicly filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the ruling limiting the use of drop-off boxes for 2022, as well as other rules and restrictions on absentee voting. (After the Wisconsin trial narrowed lawsuit, the group went directly to the state Supreme Court, bypassing lower appellate courts).

The four liberal Wisconsin Supreme Court justices voted to take the case in March, agreeing only to rule that the 22-month-old ruling was a mistrial, but not any other issues raised in the lawsuit.

Priorities said in its US filing that the 2022 decision was wrongly decided because Wisconsin law was silent on the issue of drop boxes. While the group acknowledges that Wisconsin law makes it clear that absentee ballots must be returned by mail or in person, it raises the question of whether voters can return absentee ballots in person at locations other than the clerk’s office.

Democrats and progressives in the state filed multiple briefs urging the court to overturn the 2022 decision. Conservative groups and the Republican Party of Wisconsin have filed several briefs in support of the existing regulations on drop-off boxes.

In the years since the 2020 election, the use of ballot drop boxes has been repeatedly criticized by former President Donald Trump and his representatives. alliesWHO falsely alleged that the practice led to widespread voter fraud in 2020.

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By 37ci3

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