Elections officials in Wisconsin voted that the Green Party is eligible to appear on presidential election ballots, a move that could affect the result in a critical battleground state where the winner has been decided by narrow margins.
At a meeting of the Wisconsin Elections Commission on Thursday, the commissioners voted unanimously to grant the party’s petition, so long as the final paperwork requirements are met. Wisconsin state law guarantees ballot access to parties that receive 1 percent of total votes in a previous election and submit a petition to the elections commission.
“It’s a nondiscretionary thing for the commission. If they comply with those requirements, that’s the end of that,” said Ann Jacobs, a Democrat on the bipartisan commission.
Recent polls suggest a close race between President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump, the dominant front-runner for the Republican nomination, in recent polls of Wisconsin. Democrats fear that a third party bid could draw critical support away from the president.
In 2016, the Green Party candidate Jill Stein won just more than 31,000 votes in Wisconsin, a total that left her fourth in the state but was more than the difference in votes between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mr. Trump, who won by a margin of less than 1 percent and took all ten of the state’s electoral delegates.
“We look forward to offering every Wisconsinite the opportunity to vote for people, planet and peace over profit,” Dave Schwab, the secretary of the Wisconsin Green Party, said in a statement.
Ms. Stein has announced that she will seek the Green Party’s nomination again this year.
Representative Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, a Democrat, said he’s more concerned about challenges from other candidates, like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a well-known vaccine skeptic and lawyer, and Cornel West, a professor and activist who dropped his affiliation with the Green Party in October, than from Green Party contenders.
“I’m not too concerned because I don’t know if they have the gravitas they once had,” Mr. Pocan said of the Green Party in an interview. “I think Kennedy and potentially Cornel West, if he gets any status, might have a bigger disruption especially on campuses.”
In 2022, a candidate for secretary of state running as a member of the Green Party crossed the state’s threshold with 1.6 percent, making the party eligible for access this year. The commission received its request on Jan. 31.
To guarantee its spot on the 2024 ballot, the Green Party must mail its original petition signed by the party’s chair and secretary to the state election officials on or before April 1.