The Green Party candidate for president won’t be on the ballot in two battleground states, following court rulings last week. It's another example, the Greens say, of the difficulties third party candidates have getting on the ballot.
Democrats have long fought to keep Green Party candidates off the ballot, concerned that liberal voters will support the more progressive party, rather than a mainstream Democrat. They point to election results in 2016, when Green Party candidate Jill Stein pulled in more votes than Democrat Hillary Clinton lost by in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
But this year's Green Party candidate for president, Syracuse's Howie Hawkins, said that doesn’t tell the whole story.
"Exit polls showed that in 2016, 61% of Jill Stein voters would not have voted if she wasn’t on the ballot," Hawkins said. "If you plug those numbers into Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, it wouldn’t have made a difference."
Judges in both Pennsylvania and Wisconsin threw Hawkins and his running mate off the ballot last week, because of technicalities.
"You know, it’s just a shame in this country, it’s so hard to get on the ballot," Hawkins said. "Voters signed petitions, and the signatures were good, but they found technical problems."
Hawkins said complicated election laws, different in every state, continue to put third parties at a disadvantage.
"Green Party is working people. We don’t have lawyers on retainer to guide us through the process, which is not really transparent," he said. "It’s hard to find things out. And sometimes there are unwritten rules that are a tradition that major parties know about."
Hawkins says the Green Party won’t continue a court fight at this point. The goal now is to encourage voters to write-in his name on the ballot.
"I’m just filing paperwork to get write-in ballot in a few states, so people will be able to vote for us in just about every state, we just won’t be on the ballot," he said.