Last week, the conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court threatened to toss sand in the gears of the state’s electoral machinery by ordering a reprinting of mail ballots to include the Green Party ticket of Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker, who had been tossed off the ballot by the Wisconsin Election Commission. Today one of the conservative judges joined the court’s liberals and decided the Green-less ballots could go out after all, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
The Wisconsin Supreme Court kept the Green Party’s presidential ticket off the ballot Monday, disappointing party members but ensuring more than a million absentee ballots will be mailed by Thursday as required by state law.
The ruling also bolsters hopes for Democrats, who feared presidential nominee Joe Biden could lose a small share of his votes to the liberal third party. Republicans had hoped the Green Party would shave off just enough votes of Biden’s total to give President Donald Trump a victory this fall in a state he narrowly won in 2016.
Justice Brian Hagedorn broke with his fellow conservatives to form a majority with the court’s liberals that kept Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins off the ballot.
The key issue this time around was the majority’s claim that Hawkins and Walker waited too long to appeal the commission’s decision:
The majority concluded some ballots may have already been sent, and found that confusion would reign if clerks had to send those voters a second ballot with the names of additional candidates.
In theory, that should be the same disposition facing another minor-party candidate who received the same treatment from the Election Commission and a lower-court judge, as Variety reported:
Judge John Zakowski ruled in favor of the Wisconsin Elections Commission on Friday night, effectively keeping West off the ballot in the state. He had filed a lawsuit against the WEC over the previous decision to bar him from the ballot because his nomination papers were submitted 14 seconds after the 5 p.m. deadline on Aug. 4, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette….
Zakowski agreed that West was late in filing his paperwork, writing in the decision, “The court believes at the time a grandfather clock rings out five times is the moment it is 5 p.m. Any time after that is precisely that: after 5 p.m.
West’s campaign appealed the decision to the Supreme Court today. His prospects are not good, and perhaps now county election officials can get on with the job of getting mail ballots out before a hard federal deadline of September 19 for overseas and military voters. The reduced number of ballot lines competing for the non-Trump vote is probably good news for Joe Biden.