Washington (CNN)The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday removed the Green Party candidate from the 2020 presidential ballot and cleared the way for local officials to start sending out absentee ballots to voters.
In a 5-2 ruling, the high court ruled that Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins didn’t follow proper procedures when submitting his nomination forms to get on the ballot. The decision to keep Hawkins off the ballot is a boost to Democratic nominee Joe Biden, as Hawkins could have siphoned away liberal votes.Visit CNN’s Election Center for full coverage of the 2020 raceMore imminently, Thursday’s ruling eliminates the final hurdle blocking Pennsylvania from sending out absentee ballots to voters who requested them. The state was stuck in a holding pattern and couldn’t mail out any ballots while the litigation, which was brought by the Democratic Party, played out in court.Election 101The Green Party “failed to comply with the Election Code’s strict mandate” for how nomination paperwork must be handled, and their attempts to fix the problem “did not suffice to cure that error,” the justices said in a 28-page majority opinion. As a result, “that defect was fatal” to Hawkins’ request to get on the ballot.Read MoreElection 2020: Send us your stories about voting issuesAll five Democrats on the court voted to remove the Green Party, while the two Republicans dissented. The decision came one week after a similar ruling in Wisconsin, where Hawkins was also kicked off the ballot.