Wisconsin Supreme Court orders Dean Phillips onto Dem primary ballot

By: - February 2, 2024 5:12 pm

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 25: Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) speaks while joining fellow House Democrats to mark the 200th day of the 116th Congress on the steps outside the U.S. Capitol July 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. Just hours before leaving for the six-week summer recess, Congress is set to pass a budget and raise the debt limit after a deal was struck between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier this week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday ordered the state elections commission to put U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) onto the Democratic presidential primary ballot. 

The Court’s decision was issued per curiam, meaning it was issued by the entire court and not written by one justice. The decision will put the Wisconsin Elections Commission and county clerks under a tight deadline to have ballots including Phillips’ name printed and ready to be mailed to voters in the military and living overseas by  Feb. 15. 

Phillips had been excluded from the ballot by the bipartisan committee responsible for choosing which candidates are placed on the presidential primary ballot. The committee, made up of the chairs of both major political parties and the majority and minority leadership of both chambers of the Legislature, only put President Joe Biden’s name on the ballot. 

The WEC and the committee argued that Phillips had waited too long since the Jan. 2 decision to leave him off the ballot to file his lawsuit — which he filed last week. Phillips could have forced his way onto the ballot by gathering 8,000 signatures from Wisconsin voters, which the WEC and committee argued he should have done. 

Under state law, the committee is required to include on the primary ballot all names “”whose candidacy is generally advocated or recognized in the national news media throughout the United States.” The Court decided that the committee did not properly execute this discretion when it made its decision. 

“We find that here … ‘there is no evidence’ that the Selection Committee’s decision not to certify the subject candidate’s name for ballot placement ‘was based on the Selection Committee’s having properly applied the statutory standard of media advocacy or recognition,’” the decision states.


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Henry Redman
Henry Redman

Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.