Sept. 17 (UPI) -- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of removing Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins from the 2020 ballot, giving the Democratic Party a major victory in a state that's expected to be key in the presidential election.
The high court overturned a ruling by a lower court judge, who said Hawkins could remain on the ballot, but his vice presidential candidate, Angela Walker, could not.
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party challenged the Green Party candidate's inclusion on the ballot after they said the placeholder nominees failed to file their candidate affidavits on time.
The Green Party initially nominated Elizabeth Faye Scroggin for president and Neal Taylor Gale for vice president as placeholders until later nominating Hawkins and Walker. But the Democratic Party said Gale didn't file a candidate affidavit on time and while Scroggin faxed an affidavit to a state email account by deadline, the Green Party didn't include a cover letter, nor alert elections officials that the fax was sent until weeks later.
The state Supreme Court said that since the original nominations were invalid, they couldn't serve as placeholders for Hawkins and Walker, thus, their nominations also were invalid.
Larry Otter, an attorney for the Green Party, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Thursday's ruling likely spells the end of Hawkins' attempt to be on the ballot in Pennsylvania.
"This is the end of the state road," he said. "The only other option is federal court."
Pennsylvania is a critical battleground state for presidential candidates. It carries 20 electoral votes, the fifth-highest in the United States.