Source: NwoReport

A judge in the key battleground state of Wisconsin ruled Thursday that ballot drop boxes and ballot harvesting violate state law. The judge outlawed their use in the upcoming midterm elections.

Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren determined “there is no statutory authority” to allow for either practice, which became immensely controversial in Wisconsin following the state’s razor-thin outcome in the 2020 presidential electionPresident Biden defeated former President Donald Trump in the state by approximately 20,000 votes.

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The Wisconsin Elections Commission, which came under fire for allegedly bending and even candidly violating state law to give Biden an edge, authorized the severe increase in the use of ballot drop boxes, but Judge Bohren held that the agency lacked lawful authority to do so.

The plaintiffs, voters represented by the Conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), argued that state law allowed for only two methods of returning an absentee ballot: via mail or in

person at the municipal clerk’s office. Nowhere does it allow for a ballot to be dropped off in a dropbox.

Wisconsin law rules that no person “may receive a ballot from or give a ballot to a person other than the election official in charge.” This, the plaintiffs argued, is an explicit prohibition on ballot harvesting, the practice of third-parties collecting absentee ballots from voters.

Despite this, the Wisconsin Elections Commission, ahead of the 2020 election, sent a memo to municipal clerks indicating that “a family member or another person may also return the ballot on behalf of the voter” and that ballots could be returned in drop boxes instead of in person at the clerk’s office.

Neither of these, Bohren ruled Thursday, were lawful orders. Regardless, clerks set up more than 500 ballot drop boxes across the state, which were used to collect tens of thousands of absentee ballots. The ruling, which will almost certainly be appealed, prohibits the use of drop boxes in upcoming elections.

Wisconsin’s current U.S. Senate race is among the most hotly contested across the country, as control of the Senate may depend upon its outcomes.

Last week, incumbent Republican Ron Johnson announced he would run for a third term. Several Democrats, including Lt. Gov Mandela Barnes and Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, have launched their bids to unseat Johnson.

The state will also have a fiercely fought gubernatorial election, as former Republican Lt. Gov Rebecca Kleefisch is challenging Democrat incumbent Tony Evers. Last fall, Kleefisch filed a lawsuit against the

Wisconsin Elections Commission in an effort to force it to follow state law during the 2022 election cycle.

Her suit, seeking direct action from the Wisconsin Supreme Court, alleged the use of ballot drop boxes violated state law, a position confirmed by a report by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau. That agency determined in October that the Wisconsin Elections Commission failed to comply with numerous laws in the way it administered the 2020 election.