Green Party Denied Ballot Access For Now
Bipartisan state Election Commission deadlocks on issue with nominating papers.
The Green Party’s presidential ticket will not appear on the ballot in November in Wisconsin, unless a judge rules otherwise.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission deadlocked Thursday night after repeated party-line votes on whether to place Green Party presidential nominee Howie Hawkins and vice-presidential nominee and Milwaukee-native Angela Walker on the ballot.
The six-member commission, made up of three Democratic appointees and three Republican appointees, faced a recommendation from its staff that the Hawkins ticket be denied because nominating papers contained different home addresses for Walker. The vice-presidential nominee, according to the Green Party, moved within South Carolina as the papers, used to collect signatures, were being circulated. As a result of the move the address on a portion of the nominating papers was changed, but Walker did not provide a sworn affidavit of when she moved, nor did the party respond in writing to a challenge submitted by Allen Arntsen, a retired attorney.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission staff report calls the situation “unusual, but not unprecedented.” Had a sworn statement on when the move occurred been submitted to the commission, then the signatures submitted before and after the move, relative to the address on the nomination paper, could have been validated, the report noted.
The Democratic-appointees said she should be rejected, while the Republican-appointees moved otherwise.
“This is another situation of the Democratic Party.. trying to tell Blacks or Hispanics how to vote, only Biden or only Trump,” said Republican-appointee Robert Spindell. Arntsen’s attorney, Jeffrey Mandell, rejected the line of reasoning and said Arntsen wasn’t affiliated with the party.
Spindell used a similar argument regarding the nomination of Kanye West, but West’s candidacy was rejected on a 5-1 vote for being submitted late.
The commission, meeting virtually, cast repeated 3-3 votes on whether to allow the party onto the ballot, or whether to explicitly block them from it. “Maybe this an issue that needs to go to court,” said Spindell.
The commission never discussed it, but giving the party access is a high stakes issue. In 2016, Green Party nominee Jill Stein earned one percent of the vote in Wisconsin, an amount greater than Donald Trump‘s margin of victory.
After three hours the commission voted unanimously to accept 1,789 signatures as valid, which Spindell said was a move designed to provide guidance to the courts. The signatures originate from nominating papers that have an address matching the one Walker filed with her declaration of candidacy.
The Green Party has the right to challenge the ruling, or lack thereof, in court. The party was represented by national co-chair Andrea Merida at the meeting. Hawkins has previously vowed to sue over the issue.
For more on Walker’s background, see our coverage from earlier this week.
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