The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday decided that ballot drop boxes are allowed for use in the 2024 presidential race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in a ruling that overturns an earlier decision by the same court, which had deemed the boxes illegal following their widespread use during the 2020 election.

In a 4-3 decision, the liberal justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that state law permits the use of ballot drop boxes for absentee voting. They affirmed that city election clerks can employ these boxes to facilitate elections. The decision was met with approval from Democrats and criticism from Republicans.

“Our decision today does not force or require that any municipal clerks use drop boxes. It merely acknowledges what [state law] has always meant: that clerks may lawfully utilize secure drop boxes in an exercise of their statutorily-conferred discretion,” Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court reversed a previous decision from July 2022 that banned the use of unmanned ballot drop boxes. This earlier ruling was overturned following a challenge by Democrats after liberal Judge Janet Protasiewicz won a seat on the court, defeating a conservative candidate. The latest decision, which allows the use of ballot drop boxes, was met with strong objections from the court’s conservative justices. They argued that the decision was politically motivated and expressed concerns that it could undermine election integrity.

“The majority again forsakes the rule of law in an attempt to advance its political agenda,” wrote Justice Rebecca Bradley. “The majority ends the term by loosening the legislature’s regulations governing the privilege of absentee voting in the hopes of tipping the scales in future elections.” She added that the majority decision would “legitimize any method of getting absentee ballots to a municipal clerk that the clerk may choose.”

“An unattended cardboard box on the clerk’s driveway? An unsecured sack sitting outside the local library or on a college campus? Door-to-door retrieval from voters’ homes or dorm rooms? Under the majority’s logic, because the statute doesn’t expressly forbid such methods of ballot delivery, they are perfectly lawful,” she wrote.

Democrat Governor Tony Evers celebrated the ruling, calling it a “victory for democracy,” and said he would “keep fighting to ensure that every eligible voter can cast their ballot safely, securely, and as easily as possible to make sure their voices are heard.” But Wisconsin GOP Chair Brian Schimming expressed disappointment with the ruling.

“In a setback for both the separation of powers and public trust in our elections, the left-wing justices on the Supreme Court of Wisconsin have obeyed the demands of their out-of-state donors at the expense of Wisconsin,” he said. “This latest attempt by leftist justices to placate their far-left backers will not go unanswered by voters.”

Wisconsin is one of a handful of key swing states expected to decide the presidential election outcome. And to that end, President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign got some more bad news in the form of another survey that shows him losing out to former President Donald Trump in the most important battleground states.

Recent polls reveal that Trump is leading over Biden in five pivotal battleground states. The president’s Democratic coalition is under threat due to a desire for change, discontent over the economy, and the Gaza war among young, Black, and Hispanic voters, The New York Times reports.

“The surveys by The New York Times, Siena College and The Philadelphia Inquirer found that Mr. Trump was ahead among registered voters in a head-to-head matchup against Mr. Biden in five of six key states: Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden led among registered voters in only one battleground state, Wisconsin,” pollster Nate Cohn wrote for the Times.

The contest tightens among likely voters. Trump also led in five states, but Biden pulled ahead in Michigan and was closely trailing in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Although Biden swept all six of these states in 2020, securing wins in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin would suffice for his re-election, assuming he maintains his victories in all other locations from four years earlier, The Times reported.

The outcome was similar in a hypothetical matchup featuring minor-party candidates and independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who garnered an average of 10 percent of the vote across the six states. Kennedy’s support appeared to draw approximately equally from both major-party candidates, the outlet reported, citing the surveys.

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