“We would be unable to provide meaningful relief without completely upsetting the election,” the Supreme Court wrote in its 4-3 decision.
Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered local clerks to stop sending out ballots — creating an impasse that threatened to derail the mail-in voting procedures in the key battleground state. Wisconsin state laws require clerks to mail ballots to voters who asked for them by Thursday.
“The most likely state of current affairs is that municipal clerks have already sent out hundreds, and more likely thousands, of those absentee ballots. Ordering new ballots to be printed would be an expensive and time-consuming process that would not allow counties and municipalities to meet the statutory deadlines for delivering and sending ballots,” the Supreme Court wrote on Monday.
The court split differently than it had last week when it stopped the mailing of ballots, with one conservative justice on Monday joining the three liberals to form a majority.
Ordering local clerks to add Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins to the ballot at this late stage would “create a substantial possibility of confusion among voters who had already received, and possibly returned, the original ballots,” the court added.
Democrats will claim the ruling as a win for their nominee, Joe Biden, because Hawkins could have played spoiler in a state that had one of the closest margins in 2016.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.