High Court approves expedited hearing in advance of 2024 election...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/4/2024, 12:35pm PT  

The Wisconsin Supreme Court appears likely to restore the availability of secure absentee ballot drop-boxes in advance of this year's pivotal election in the battleground state.

Last month, in Priorities USA v. Wisconsin Election Commission, a majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an Order which granted a petition to plaintiffs to bypass the court of appeal.

The Court agreed to take up the issue in an expedited fashion as to whether Wisconsin voters will be allowed to deposit their mail-in ballots in secure drop-boxes this year, following a ruling by the Court's previous majority that drop-box voting was in violation of state law. The order expedited briefing in the matter, and ruled that oral arguments will take place on May 13, 2024...

On Tuesday, Wisconsin's Democratic Governor Tony Evers filed an Opening Brief in which he joined petitioner's assertion that the Court's former right-wing majority erred when, in Teigan v Wisconsin Elections Commission (2022), it prevented Wisconsin election officials from deploying unmanned, secure drop-boxes. Based upon the text of the pertinent Wisconsin statute, the governor argued that the High Court's former right-wing majority literally "rewrote the relevant statutory language" in order to ban the use of drop-boxes.

In a dissent to the majority's order, right-wing Justice Rebecca Grassl Bradley, joined by Justice Annette Ziegler, accused the Court's "openly progressive faction" of attempting "to increase the electoral prospects of their preferred political party."

According to Gov. Evers' analysis, however, it was the Court's former right-wing majority's unjustified rewriting of the pertinent statute that suggests an effort to provide a GOP political advantage by making it more difficult to cast a mail-in ballot. By contrast, Evers provides non-partisan reasons why drop-boxes benefit all voters:

The absentee ballot procedure is intended to facilitate absentee voting --- particularly for those voters who rely exclusively on that option --- while maintaining the integrity of Wisconsin elections.

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Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, and Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). He previously served as a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. Canning has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing

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