The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the Green Party ticket from the state’s presidential ballot, handing Democrats their second win this week in knocking out third-party competition for Joseph R. Biden in swing states.
The state’s high court ruled that Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins and vice presidential candidate Angela Walker failed to submit filing papers in person as required and therefore forfeited their spot on the ballot.
Democrats have long fought to keep Green Party candidates off the ballot to prevent them from acting as spoilers by siphoning off left-leaning voters. This year, the effort went into overdrive and succeeded in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, two key states where the Green Party helped sink Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The ruling also cleared the pay for Pennsylvania to start sending out mail-in ballots, which had been delayed for the ballot access fight.
The Green Party originally filed for Elizabeth Scroggin and Neal Gale as the nominees for the Pennsylvania ballot and later substituted the Hawkins-Walker ticket.
The court found that Ms. Scroggin failed to submit the paperwork in person and therefore negates the substitute candidate as well.
“That defect was fatal to Scroggin’s nomination and, therefore, to Hawkins’ substitution,” the court said in a 28-page opinion.
The justices said the Green Party “failed to comply with the Election Code’s strict mandate” for handling nomination paperwork and their attempts to fix it “did not suffice to cure that error.”
On Monday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court handed down a similar ruling that a technicality with the filing blocked Mr. Hawkins and Ms. Walker from appearing on the ballot.
In 2016, Green Party nominee Jill Stein captured enough of the vote to account for Mrs. Clinton’s narrow losses in both Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
In Pennsylvania, which sealed President Trump’s upset victory in 2016, Mr. Clinton lost by a 0.8% margin. Green Party nominee Jill Stein took 0.8% of the vote in that election.
In Wisconsin, Ms. Stein captured 1% of the vote in 2016 while Mrs. Clinton lost to Mr. Trump by a 0.7% margin.
Mr. Trump redrew the electoral map in 2016 by putting Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the Republican column for the first in a generation. Those states are now the central battleground in Mr. Biden’s quest to make Mr. Trump a one-term president.