Wisconsin’s Supreme Court on Monday voted 4-3 to keep the Green Party off the state’s ballot in a ruling that avoids further election delays and allows absentee ballots to resume being mailed to voters.
The decision comes after the court, which has a conservative majority, last Thursday ordered that the mailing of absentee ballots be paused until it determined whether Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins could appear on the ticket in the battleground state, where polling shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holding a narrow lead over President Trump.
The court shot down Hawkins’s bid, with the majority finding that the third-party candidate had missed his window given that “the 2020 fall general election has essentially begun.”
“It is too late to grant petitioners any form of relief that would be feasible and that would not cause confusion and undue damage to both the Wisconsin electors who want to vote and the other candidates in all of the various races on the general election ballot,” the majority wrote.
Had the court sided in favor of Hawkins, it would have meant printing and mailing nearly 1 million new ballots that included the Green Party ahead of the state’s Sept. 17 deadline.
Additionally, the court noted, it’s likely that thousands of ballots without Hawkins’s name have already been mailed by the state’s nearly 2,000 municipal clerks.
“For this court to order the printing and mailing of replacement ballots containing the petitioners’ names would create a substantial possibility of confusion among voters who had already received, and possibly returned, the original ballots,” the majority wrote.
Three justices dissented from the ruling, including Chief Justice Patience Drake Roggensack, who criticized the majority for taking away the Green Party of Wisconsin’s right to ballot access.
“Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker, Green Party candidates for President and Vice President, followed all the requirements of Wisconsin law necessary for ballot access, yet the Commission denied them and the people of Wisconsin the right to have Hawkins’ and Walker’s names on the ballot for the November 3, 2020 general election,” she wrote.
It was not immediately clear how the Monday ruling might affect a separate lawsuit previously brought by rapper Kanye West, who has requested that his name be added to Wisconsin’s ballot as a third-party presidential candidate.