A new ballot collection box has been installed outside of Madison Fire Department Station #4, on Monroe Street, on Friday, October 16, 2020. The City of Madison Clerk’s Office is installing 14 secure ballot drop boxes outside of fire stations and at the Elver Park shelter. Photo by Ruthie Hauge, Capital Times

Several groups involved in a lawsuit over absentee ballot drop boxes are asking the state Supreme Court to ensure they can be used in the April 5 spring election as well as the Feb. 15 primary.

The court a week ago ruled 4-3 that drop boxes could be used in the Feb. 15 primary as it weighs whether they should be allowed going forward.

In a filing yesterday, several parties in the case argued the court should also allow their use in the April 5 spring election.

They pointed out the court decided to allow their use in the Feb. 15 primary to avoid the potential for voter confusion. The parties added the “same harm and timing concerns will persist through the April 5 general election.”

They also argued the court has “consistently eschewed changing voting rules after an election has begun” and that the February primary and April election “are two parts of the same election.”

A Waukesha County Circuit Court judge last month ruled state law bars the use of drop boxes. Judge Michael Bohren also ruled state law bars ballot harvesting and an elector can only return an absentee ballot via the mail or in person.

The 4th District Court of Appeals stayed the ruling, raising concerns that the change Bohren ordered could cause voter confusion. The state Supreme Court then agreed to take over the case, but left in place the stay preventing enforcement of Bohren’s order for the Feb. 15 primary.

The groups asking the court to allow drop boxes for the April election as well include: Disability Rights Wisconsin, Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice and League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.

Read the brief here.

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