Kaukauna used a ballot drop box outside the Municipal Services Building for the November 2020 election.

KAUKAUNA — Ballot drop boxes like the one used in the past in front of the Kaukauna Municipal Services Building are not legal, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Absentee ballots are already being sent to voters who requested them for the August 9, 2022 primary, however they may only be returned by mail or in person at the city clerk’s office, according to the ruling.

The conservative law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty sued in 2021, arguing drop boxes are illegal under state law.

The court said the absence of a prohibition in state law does not mean that drop boxes are legal.

“Nothing in the statutory language detailing the procedures by which absentee ballots may be cast mentions drop boxes or anything like them,” Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote for the majority.

The court said absentee ballots can be returned only to the clerk’s office or a designated alternative site but that site cannot be an unstaffed drop box.

The court didn’t address whether or not someone other than the voter can place a ballot in a mailbox.

The August primary is an important runnup to the November general election.

Outagamie County Executive is among the top group of Democrats hoping to win the primary and challenge incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson in November.

Democrats likely need to gain only two Senate seats to get enough votes to change Senate rules to pass key priorities, including a voting rights bill, women’s right to choose and other issues.

Voters can request an absentee ballot by mail at MyVoteWi.org.

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By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak, born and raised in Kaukauna, is cofounder of Kaukauna Community News.