WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, the conservative group Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) challenging the legality of drop boxes used for absentee voting. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the WEC issued guidance encouraging the use of drop boxes for the 2020 primary and general elections. WILL alleges that this guidance is contrary to Wisconsin election laws, which state that absentee ballots can only be returned legally via two methods: the voter mails their ballot to the municipal clerk or the voter hands their ballot to the municipal clerk. WILL thus claims that any other method of absentee voting — such as dropping a completed ballot into a drop box or having a family member or friend deliver a completed ballot — is illegal. WILL asks the court to ban the use of drop boxes and require that voters mail or return their own completed ballots to designated officials.
Wisconsin saw high turnout (72%) for the 2020 general election despite difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. There was an increase in absentee voting, with about 60% of ballots being cast absentee in person or by mail, and over 500 drop boxes were set up across the state. Republicans have repeatedly challenged absentee voting in the state during the last election cycle and into this year without any success.