The 4-3 ruling on Monday blocks a third-party candidacy that Democrats had feared could hurt Joe Biden in this narrowly divided battleground state. It also clears the way for local clerks to resume mailing absentee ballots to more than 1 million voters who have already requested one.
Election officials had warned of significant delay and chaos had the court ordered Howie Hawkins added to the ballot. That would have forced clerks to reprint and mail the ballots less than two months before the election.
Rapper Kanye West is also trying to get on the Wisconsin ballot. The court did not address his challenge, which if successful could result in a new ballot being ordered, causing delay.
Conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn joined the court''s three liberals in the majority. Their unsigned opinion said the Greens delayed seeking relief and “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 voters and candidates.
Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, writing for the minority, accused the state Elections Commission of improperly disqualifying Hawkins and his running mate over issues with the running mate''s address. She also said lawsuits take time to put together and local clerks knew that the Greens would likely sue.
“This lawsuit is not about the Green Party sleeping on its rights. It is about the treatment that independent candidates from a small political party received from the Commission,” Roggensack wrote.
Both West and Hawkins got help from Republicans who saw them as likely to siphon votes from Biden in a state that Trump carried by only about 23,000 votes four years ago. Attorneys representing the Green Party candidates have represented Republicans in prior legal battles.
Several Republicans, including the former attorney for the state Republican Party, are assisting West.
Clerks had already mailed an untold number of ballots before the Supreme Court on September 10 stopped the sending of ballots while it considered the Green Party lawsuit.
Democrats feared a delay in creating and then sending out replacement ballots will confuse voters and dampen turnout. The ruling comes just ahead of a state deadline to send absentee ballots by Thursday to people who have a request on file will not be met. Saturday is the deadline under federal law to mail ballots to military and overseas voters.
Voters in Wisconsin have until October 29 to request an absentee ballot by mail, but election officials have urged voters to act sooner given expected delays in the mail. Absentee ballots must be received by 8 p.m. when polls close on Election Day.
State elections officials have estimated that more than 2 million of the state''s roughly 3 million eligible voters will cast absentee ballots, largely due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Polls show a tight race between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. Trump won Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016 and both sides recognize it as one of a handful of states that are likely to determine the race this year. (AP)
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI