Pennsylvania Supreme Court removes Green Party presidential candidate from ballot
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the presidential and vice presidential candidates for the Green Party cannot appear on the state’s ballots this cycle, handing Democrats a win as they try to consolidate support in the key swing state.
The court ruled in a 5-2 decision that the Green Party did not follow proper procedure for getting on the ballot, overturning a Republican judge’s decision in a lower court ruling.
The Green Party earlier this year swapped out Elizabeth Faye Scroggin for Howie Hawkins as its presidential candidate. But the high court ruled that it failed to properly get Scroggin on the ballot, so “subsequent efforts to substitute Hawkins were a nullity.” It ruled a similar substitution effort to get Angela Walker on the ballot as the party’s vice presidential nominee was invalid.
“In sum, the Commonwealth Court erred in dismissing Objectors’ petition to set aside Scroggin’s nomination, and Hawkins’ substitution, as the Green Party’s candidate for President of the United States,” the court ruled, citing irregularities in the way the Green Party was supposed to file affidavits for the presidential candidate.
“That defect was fatal to Scroggin’s nomination and, therefore, to Hawkins’ substitution. Accordingly, the Secretary of the Commonwealth is directed to remove Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker from the general election ballot as the Green Party’s nominees for President and Vice President.”
The court’s two Republican justices agreed the petitions for Hawkins and Walker were not filed properly but that the Green Party could try to fix the errors retroactively.
The ruling marks a victory for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Democrats who feared that third-party contenders could win over some liberal voters in tight races up and down the ballot.
The Keystone State is anticipated to be particularly competitive in the White House race between Biden and President Trump. In 2016, Green Party candidate Jill Stein took nearly 50,000 votes in the state, which Trump won over then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by just more than 44,000 votes.
Biden’s campaign has focused heavily on winning Pennsylvania, touting the former vice president’s Scranton roots. The RealClearPolitics polling average shows him with a 4.3-point lead over Trump in the state.
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