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Area clerks react to absentee ballot box ruling

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Ballot Box

WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -- Absentee voters will no longer be able to drop their ballots off at a drop box thanks to court ruling in Waukesha County Thursday.

"We will still be preparing and sending out absentee applications as the ballots are available," Wausau City Clerk Kaitlyn Bernarde said.

Wausau has an absentee ballot box sitting just outside of City Hall, which might not be used anymore. For the moment, some details still need to be worked out.

"We are still waiting for direction from the Wisconsin Elections Commission," Bernarde said.

Per the ruling, the commission would be required to change its guidance on the use of the boxes; one reason being unmanned drop boxes don't verify who placed the ballots in them.

"I think it's very important that the vote is representative of the people who are voting," Lincoln County Clerk Chris Marlowe said.

News 9 reached out to WEC for comment, who say they "plan to review the court's order and consult with legal counsel in the coming days."

"There's no doubt it'll be appealed," Marlowe said. "How that effects our February 15th [primary] election, I don't think it does," he added.

He also says it's tough to gauge how much impact a move like this will have.

"To some, it looks like it's restraining or making it harder for some people to vote, but then for others, it's ensuring that it's the actual voter," Marlowe said.

Though this absentee option may not be available for upcoming elections, the ruling does not exclude all absentee votes.

"If you need to vote absentee, do it early. Make your request early. You can turn it in in person at the clerk's office," Marlowe said.

You can also turn ballots in through the Postal Service via your own mailbox or in marked bins.

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