Pennsylvania Supreme Court Votes to Remove Green Party Candidate from Presidential Ballot

A photograph of Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins speaking at a Green Party Rally – From

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in early September in a 5-2 Democratic Majority vote to remove Howie Hawkins, the Green Party presidential candidate, from the ballot. This decision was made after the Green Party didn’t fully execute the strict rules for submitting their paperwork needed to run for the presidency. The party had secured all the signatures and documents required but when sending in their affidavits they were faxed in separately from the voter signature paperwork which had been received by hand. The party was then told that the original copy of the affidavits was needed and by the time it was secured and sent the affidavits were past due. Due to late submissions and legal questions regarding the party, it was difficult for some counties to send mail-in ballots to voters choosing to stay home on November 3rd due to COVID-19.

It is not uncommon for Democrats to try and remove the Green Party candidate from the ballot, particularly in a swing state such as Pennsylvania which is so important in presidential elections. No president has won the election without winning Pennsylvania since 1948. Ms. Halloran, the Allderdice US Government teacher, when asked what effect she believes this decision would have she stated, “It may have one of two impacts. One, people that are staunch Green Party supporters may just choose to stay home and be upset that their candidate isn’t on the ballot. Second, people who may have voted Green Party may align more closely with the democrats and now chose to vote for Joe Biden.” 

Some democrats believe by removing the Green Party from the ballot those voters will then vote for the Democratic candidate and leave a higher chance for Biden to win the state. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate in 2016, took almost 50,000 votes in Pennsylvania where Trump only won the state by 44,000. The Green Party being taken off the ballot could be seen as a win for Democrats but there are voters from both sides who don’t see the decision as fair. Halloran states, “I’ve always been one to advocate for more options on the ballot. I think people should have a voice in who they want to represent them in government. If there are parties that manage to get on the ballot then they should be there.”   

Logo of Green Party – Wikipedia

The Green Party is a left-wing group that usually aligns itself further left than a majority of the democratic party. Hawkins was part of the original Green Party that started in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1984. Hawkins platform is built on five major parts which he speaks in-depth on in an interview with C-SPAN in July. He began the interview speaking on how he will add in a test-trace-and isolation program due to COVID-19. He then speaks on police reformation from making the police more of a community-run organization and taking funds that go towards both the police and the military and putting them into schools, employment, and health care. Through defunding the military he also wants to create more peace treaties with the major countries with nuclear power. He also speaks on climate change and the Green New Deal which is commonly associated with their party. 

The Green Party has around half a million registered voters in the United States and 129 elected officials around the country. The first Green Party candidate to run for president was Ralph Nadar in 1996 and again in 2000 making them a relatively young party in the presidential races.