Wisconsin Elections Commission split on drop box ruling

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WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- For the first time, the Wisconsin Elections Commission responded to the state Supreme Court's ruling that ballot drop boxes will not be allowed during the upcoming primary and general elections.

The six commissioners were split on most of the issues but declined to give guidance to clerks at this time.

The commission administrator says the most common question county clerks have asked in recent days is how to implement the court's decision.

The three conservative commissioners wanted to dictate what clerks should do, but the three Democratic commissioners said clerks already know how to run elections.

Democratic Commissioner Julie Glancey said, "Quite frankly, even we aren't sure what the Supreme Court really said, right? They were silent on some issues, kind of hedged on others."

The state Supreme Court ruled Friday drop boxes are illegal in Wisconsin, meaning absentee voters can only return their ballot by mail or at their local clerk's office.

But the court did not decide if voters can give their absentee ballot to someone else to return for them by mail.

The commission was split on how to proceed with the primary election just four weeks away.

Republican Chair Don Millis said, "We don't have, to me, that luxury to wait."

Republican Vice Chair Bob Spindell raised three issues, among them requiring anyone who drops off a ballot to prove their identity.

He said, "How do we know? If we do not have a situation where they show the ID. It's a security measure that's of importance."

But throughout the meeting the three Democratic commissioners claimed the law does not allow them to overstep.

Democratic Commissioner Ann Jacobs said, "We have no authority to order people to show ID, or to add qualifications to voting that don't exist in law or in statute."

Democratic Commissioner Mark Thomsen said, "And to make that motion is making a mockery of the mandate. The mandate says we can't make up stuff."

Ultimately the WEC decided to not issue guidance to clerks at this time.

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