Wisconsin Supreme Court Ends Green Party Presidential Ballot Attempt
There will be no replay of Jill Stein pulling 30K votes in a state won by only 23K in 2016.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Green Party presidential ticket is ineligible to appear on the state ballot, a relief for state and local election officials who feared an addition at this late date would upend election preparations.
The decision comes after the Wisconsin Elections Commission declined on Aug. 20 to put presidential contender Howie Hawkins and his Green Party running mate, Angela Walker, on the Nov. 3 ballot because their signature petitions featured two different addresses for Walker.
State election officials had argued that the campaign failed to fix the discrepancy according to state requirements.
A reversal of that decision would have triggered a scramble across the state among election officials, who would have had to order new ballots — and find the money to pay for them — while facing imminent state and federal deadlines to send them to voters.
Now, cities and towns can get back to work mailing out ballots to the more than 1 million Wisconsin voters who have requested them. The state deadline for processing ballot requests already received this year is Thursday, and the federal deadline for mailing ballots to overseas and military voters is two days later.
After that, additional ballot requests will be processed on a rolling basis after those deadlines, up until the state deadline for requesting a ballot on Oct. 29.
“I am very happy that the Supreme Court respected the difficult job we have as election administrators,” Scott McDonell, clerk of Dane County, home of Madison, wrote in a text message shortly after the decision. “Their voters will get their ballot in a timely manner so they can vote safely.”
The state elections commission’s online system showed that cities and towns had been on the cusp of mailing as many as 378,000 ballots last week. Most local governments reported Friday that they had not actually sent any yet, but were still in the preparatory stages, stuffing envelopes and affixing mailing labels.
The state Supreme Court is controlled by a 4-to-3 conservative majority that has regularly ruled in favor of Republican interests over the past decade, notably in 2014, when it upheld a law ending collective bargaining for teachers that was championed by then-Gov. Scott Walker (R).
In its 4-to-3 ruling, with one conservative, Brian Hagedorn, voting with the majority, the court said that upending the election was one reason it denied the Green Party’s appeal.
“Even if we would ultimately determine that the petitioners’ claims are meritorious, given their delay in asserting their rights, we would be unable to provide meaningful relief without completely upsetting the election,” the opinion states.