The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision Monday, decided to keep the Green Party off of the state’s presidential ballot, greenlighting an immediate start to that state’s mail-in voting and likely giving a boost to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The decision reverses an earlier Wisconsin high court ruling, temporarily halting the start of voting in Wisconsin.
“Less than a week ago, the high court abruptly halted the delivery of absentee ballots across the state in order to consider granting Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins and vice-presidential candidate Angela Walker ballot access after the Wisconsin Elections Commission denied them on a 3-3 party-line vote,” local outlet, Madison.com reported.
Monday, though, the missing justice — a conservative-backed member — weighed in, making the decision 4-3 in favor of the state’s request to deny the Green Party ballot access: “In the 4-3 unsigned decision, the court ruled it was simply too late into election season to grant any relief. The court’s three liberal-backed members joined the court’s newest conservative-backed member, Justice Brian Hagedorn.”
“We would be unable to provide meaningful relief without completely upsetting the election,” the Supreme Court wrote, per CNN. “The most likely state of current affairs is that municipal clerks have already sent out hundreds, and more likely thousands, of those absentee ballots. Ordering new ballots to be printed would be an expensive and time-consuming process that would not allow counties and municipalities to meet the statutory deadlines for delivering and sending ballots.”
It’s also possible that some voters, who had requested to vote absentee, have already received, filled out, and mailed back their Green Party-less ballots.
Although the decision seems to primarily affect the Green Party and its candidate, Howie Hawkins, the decision could have a major impact on the contest between Biden and President Donald Trump.
Wisconsin is one of the few states where third parties play an outsized role in presidential elections. In 2016, five third party candidates were on the state’s presidential ballot, including Libertarian Gary Johnson and then-Green Party candidate, Dr. Jill Stein.
Stein, left-leaning critics argued after Trump won the 2016 presidential election, likely cost then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a win in Wisconsin. Trump beat Clinton by around 23,000 votes; Stein, who more than likely pulled from Clinton, got 31,000 votes for president.
Johnson, who more than likely pulled from Trump, got 106,000 votes.
Hawkins was kept off the ballot initially because of a clerical error.
“He and running mate Angela Walker were kept off the ballot due to a complaint alleging Walker listed an incorrect address on thousands of her nominating signatures, bringing her number of valid signatures below the required threshold to secure a spot on the ballot,” Madison.com reported. The Wisconsin ballot commission did not overlook the error. Rapper Kanye West is likely to suffer a similar fate: his campaign was just under half a minute late in submitting his ballot signatures, giving the same ballot commission cause to boot him from the presidential ballot.
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