Wisconsin Supreme Court rejects last-minute Green Party bid to be added to the November ballot

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In this photo provided by Wisconsin Watch, Sharon Drefcinski, right, chief election inspector for the town of Rib Mountain, boxes mailed-in absentee ballots in Rib Mountain, Wis., to send to the county for archiving, during the partisan primary on Aug. 11, 2020.
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a 4-3 decision Monday rejecting a Green Party bid to be added to the November ballot.
  • The Green Party's 2020 presidential ticket waited two weeks to appeal a decision by the state election commission to leave it off ballot, citing errors in signature-gathering paperwork.
  • By the time the party filed, thousands of mail-in ballots had already been delivered to voters.
  • The state's highest court said there was not enough time to reverse the decision "without completely upsetting the election."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

It is too late to add the Green Party's presidential ticket to the November ballot without upending the entire election in Wisconsin, the state's supreme court ruled Monday.

A 4-3 majority said the campaign of Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker waited too long before asking the court to add them to the ballot. With hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots already printed, the court said it was unable to act in the pair's favor "without completely upsetting the election."

Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court asked counties to suspend their mailings of absentee ballots as it weighed the petition from Hawkins and Walker. The Green Party's 2020 ticket argued it had been unfairly booted from November ballot after the Wisconsin Election Commission failed to certify the requisite number of voter signatures.

The Greens, with the help of a law firm that has close ties to the Republican Party, waited two weeks before appealing their case to the state's highest court, after thousands of ballots had already been delivered to voters. ("You get help where you can find it," Hawkins told The Washington Post when asked if Republicans financed the appeal.)

In their decision, the supreme court's majority said that, in part, because Hawkins "delayed in seeking relief in a situation with very short deadlines," and "including the fact that the 2020 fall general election has essentially begun," it was simply too late to add the Greens to the ballot without risking "confusion and undue damage" to both voters and other candidates.

Andrea Mérida, manager of the Hawkins-Walker campaign, told Business Insider that the decision is a setback for all third parties.

"Now we have a dangerous precedent where a major party can effectively decide which minor parties can participate in elections," Mérida said.

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