Wisconsin's liberal Supreme Court blocks ballot collection van, but there's a catch

By 
 June 13, 2024

Wisconsin's Supreme Court upheld a ban on ballot collection vans, in a setback for the state's Democrats.

The court ruled unanimously. The move is somewhat surprising as the court is controlled by liberals. But the decision comes with a catch that could benefit Democrats.

Mark Zuckerberg bankrolled the ballot van in 2022 in the liberal stronghold of Racine. Wisconsinites approved a ban on "Zuckerbucks" this year after an outcry over Zuckerberg's fundraising to drive Democratic turnout in 2020.

Ballot van banned

In January, a Racine Circuit Court judge ruled that the vans were illegal under state law. That law bans the placement of early voting sites in locations that confer partisan advantage to one party.

The Supreme Court's liberal majority upheld the ban on ballot vans but rejected the circuit court's reasoning about polling locations. The unusual move drew protests from the conservative side of the bench.

According to the liberal majority, accepting the lower court's reasoning could cause election chaos by sharply limiting "the number of locations municipalities may designate as alternate absentee ballot sites."

“We conclude that public interest weighs heavily in favor of staying the circuit court’s ruling regarding designating alternate absentee ballot sites,” the majority added.

The majority wrote that blocking the ballot vans would not cause disruption because of their limited use in Racine.

Biden campaign hails decision

In a sharply worded opinion, conservative Rebecca Bradley accused the liberal majority of seeking to "resolve cases in a manner benefitting its preferred political party," She called the court's decision "a bewildering order heretofore unheard of in the legal realm."

“While the majority (correctly) denies the motion to stay the circuit court’s order, the majority ‘stays’ a portion of the circuit court’s legal analysis. This is not a ‘thing’ under the law,” Bradley added.

The Biden campaign called the court's caveated ruling a "win for democracy.”

The Wisconsin Institute For Law & Liberty, which challenged the ballot vans, hailed the court for blocking the vans.

"We are happy that Racine’s illegal voting van will not be in use for the upcoming elections,” WILL attorney Lucas Vebber said in a statement.

Liberals gained control of Wisconsin's Supreme Court in 2023 after a furious campaign that involved Democrats like Barack Obama. The court's liberals and conservatives have had a contentious relationship, and the conservatives have often accused the liberals of doing the bidding of Democrats.

In a separate case, the court appears prepared to overturn a ban on ballot drop boxes.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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