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Local clerks scramble to educate voters after judge bans absentee ballot drop boxes

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) — A Waukesha judge’s ruling to ban ballot drop boxes is getting pushback from native clerks who’re left scrambling to educate voters forward of the spring major election.
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On Thursday, Waukesha County Judge Michael Bohren dominated ballot drop boxes are unlawful, and prohibited voters from utilizing greater than 500 drop boxes positioned all through the state.

The choice comes weeks earlier than the Feb. 15 major and days earlier than tens of 1000’s of absentee ballots can be despatched to voters.

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“We’re going to have to scramble, mostly on education, because voters are going to think they can use a drop box,” stated Scott McDonell, Dane County Clerk. “It’s really frustrating because it makes no sense at all.”

While an enchantment to the ruling is predicted, for now it means voters can solely flip of their absentee ballot by mail or in individual to their native clerk.

Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Claire Woodall-Vogg stated it actually places voters and drop boxes in limbo for upcoming elections.

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“Wisconsin has a history of getting these judicial decisions right before elections that creates confusion,” stated Woodall-Vogg.

Drop boxes turned a well-liked possibility for voters over the final two years in the course of the pandemic. Woodall Vogg stated it gave voters “a piece of mind” as a result of many have been terrified of contracting COVID-19 in the event that they voted in individual.

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Attorneys who introduced forth the lawsuit argue drop boxes ought to have by no means been allowed since there’s nothing written about them in state regulation.  

“You can search the statute and you will not find the word ‘drop box’ anywhere,” stated Luke Berg, legal professional for the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. “There are no restrictions on where they can go, how many there can be, on how secure they can be.”

Woodall-Vogg slammed Berg’s feedback as “ludicrous,” noting all of Milwaukee’s drop boxes are monitored by 24-hours surveillance, secured, and have strict chain of custody legal guidelines.

The metropolis additionally spent $20,000 to improve surveillance cameras to ensure that they monitor drop boxes.

Republican lawmakers have tried to ban drop boxes ever since Donald Trump’s loss to Joe Biden by about 21,000 votes in Wisconsin.

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They’ve additionally handed a severe of election payments looking for to prohibit early voting, restrict who can return absentee ballots and require extra documentation to show somebody is taken into account indefinitely confined.

All of the measures have been blocked by Governor Tony Evers, which Republicans argue would have restored confidence in our elections.

Democrats have long-called these efforts an assault on democracy, and as an alternative advocate to make voting simpler, not tougher for folks.

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