Drop boxes can be used in February primary election, appeals court rules

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- In a turn of events, an appeals court ruled Monday, Jan. 24, absentee ballot drop boxes can be used in February's primary election.

The decision comes days after a lower court judge gave Republicans a victory in their effort to prohibit drop boxes in upcoming elections.

Waukesha County Judge Michael Bohren on Friday refused to stay a ruling restricting the ballot drop boxes, determining they can only be located at municipal clerks' offices.

Claire Woodall-Vogg, executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, was pleased with the appeal that will now allow voters to return their ballots to 15 drop boxes placed throughout the city for the Feb. 15 primary.

"The city of Milwaukee is very relieved the court of appeals made this decision," said Woodall-Vogg. "Having convenient drop boxes be an extension to our office just makes sense."

Woodall-Vogg said they will send out thousands of absentee ballots this week, which will include a letter advising voters to check their website on how to return ballots.

Due to the last-minute court ruling, Woodall-Vogg said it's best to check their website with updated guidance. For now, those options include returning an absentee ballot by mail, in-person or via drop box.

The case is developing and could eventually make its way to the state Supreme Court where justices could decide the fate of drop boxes in Wisconsin.

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