EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled absentee ballot drop boxes may not be used unless they are placed in election offices.
Carrie Riepl, The Eau Claire City Clerk said absentee ballot drop boxes have not been used in the city during the current election cycle, so this decision does not have a large impact on upcoming elections in Eau Claire.
“Right now, it doesn’t impact us,” Riepl said. “We had already made the change prior to the current election cycle.”
The court also ruled no one other than the voter can return their ballot in person. The court did not state whether anyone other than the voter can return their own ballot by mail.
“If you don’t want to mail your ballot back to us, you can take it directly to the city clerk’s office,” Riepl said. “But, the voter themself needs to personally take their ballot.”
Governor Evers was in Eau Claire on Friday at the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Training Center and said he disagrees with the decision.
“I’m just disappointed. I think the decision was wrong-handed,” Evers said. “Any time we decide to take away one of those things that make elections work in this state, to make sure more people vote, as many people, eligible people vote as possible, that’s a step backward.”
US Senator Ron Johnson, on the other hand, agrees with the decision.
““Regardless of political affiliation, the goal should be to restore confidence in the integrity of our election system. This decision is a big step in the right direction,” Johnson said in a statement.
Riepl said despite this ruling, absentee ballots can still be used in the upcoming elections.
“If they want to vote absentee by mail, they get their request and we send them a ballot,” Riepl said. “We also send envelopes that are self-addressed, and the postage is prepaid.”
Riepl said here are two ways the absentee ballots can be returned.
“You can also return your ballot that we mailed to you to the in-person absentee drive-through here at City Hall,” Riepl said. “That’s if you live in the city of Eau Claire.”
Absentee ballots can be requested online through MyVote.
The next election is scheduled for August 9. This primary election will determine the candidates for governor, US Senate and congressional seats that will appear on the ballot in the November 8 general election.