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Nader Begins Push to Qualify for State Ballots
http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=politicsNews&storyID=4649448 ^ | Wed Mar 24, 2004 | John Whitesides, Political Correspondent

Posted on 03/24/2004 1:02:17 PM PST by demlosers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ralph Nader's wild-card presidential bid is gearing up over the next few months for its biggest challenge -- navigating a maze of local regulations and roadblocks to qualify for the ballot in all 50 states.

Nader, whose third-party White House run in 2000 was blamed by many Democrats for helping elect President Bush, is hoping to collect 1.5 million signatures of registered voters on petitions for ballot access nationwide -- more than enough to ensure he will make Democrats nervous again this year.

"Our goal is to be on the ballot in all 50 states and we're pretty confident we can do it," said Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese, adding 7,000 volunteers have signed up nationwide to gather signatures for the independent bid.

The Nader campaign is also exploring other methods to get on state ballots, including forming temporary third parties, holding state conventions and filing lawsuits.

"We're focusing on the most difficult states first and then going from there," Zeese said. "There are a lot of different problems -- we have to prioritize."

The latest White House run by Nader, the veteran consumer advocate and political maverick, has angered many Democrats who fear he will siphon votes from presumptive nominee John Kerry and hand the election to Bush.

Nader's Green Party bid in 2000 won nearly 2.9 million votes and was blamed for draining support from Democrat Al Gore in several key states -- particularly Florida, where Nader won 97,488 votes and Gore's loss by a contested 537 votes cost him the presidency.

Early opinion polls give Democrats cause for concern, with Nader winning up to 6 percent of likely voters in November. Democratic strategists dismiss the results as a product of high name recognition.

But Nader's first challenge will be climbing what he called "the slippery slope" of ballot access in states where the two main parties often design laws to help them keep their stranglehold on the political process.

TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: TEXAS

The first deadline and toughest challenge for Nader will be Texas, where by May 10 he must collect 64,000 valid signatures from registered Texans who did not vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary.

Texas is not alone in setting a steep bar for White House hopefuls -- in Oklahoma, 37,027 valid signatures are needed by July 15. But a leading ballot access expert says Nader should be able to get his name on all 50 state ballots. "It's not a major hurdle for people with either a substantial amount of money or a substantial number of volunteers to get signatures," said Richard Winger, editor of the Ballot Access News newsletter in San Francisco.

He said Nader needs 620,000 valid signatures to qualify in all 50 states -- less than half of his stated goal -- and that recent third-party candidates like Ross Perot and the Libertarian Party have had success.

"If it was all that hard the Libertarians wouldn't have done it," he said.

The five toughest states for ballot access -- Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Indiana and North Carolina -- are all heavily Republican and Nader's presence would have little effect on the outcome.

He has focused his early campaign swings on Texas and other states with ballot access issues, trying to publicize the problem and build support for his petition drives.

Several states allow easier access for a third party than an independent, and Nader will form a temporary Progressive Party in those states to give him a ballot line, Zeese said.

In Oregon, Nader will use of a provision in state law that allows ballot access for any candidate who draws 1,000 registered voters to a nominating convention. The convention is scheduled April 5 in Portland.

In a few states the task is relatively easy, like the $500 filing fee in Louisiana and Colorado, and most deadlines are not until later in the summer, giving Nader plenty of time.

Nader was on 45 state ballots as a Green in 2000, and the Greens have automatically qualified this year in 23 states, leading to speculation some state Green Party chapters or the national party will nominate Nader.

"Our goal is to run as an independent," Zeese said. "We can't count on what the Greens might do."


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: nader

1 posted on 03/24/2004 1:02:18 PM PST by demlosers
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To: demlosers
Go Nader, go! Payback for Perot.
2 posted on 03/24/2004 1:03:54 PM PST by kennedy
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To: demlosers
But a leading ballot access expert says Nader should be able to get his name on all 50 state ballots. "It's not a major hurdle for people with either a substantial amount of money or a substantial number of volunteers to get signatures," said Richard Winger, editor of the Ballot Access News newsletter in San Francisco.
3 posted on 03/24/2004 1:07:11 PM PST by LdSentinal
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To: demlosers
I would be delighted to sign a petition.
4 posted on 03/24/2004 1:08:13 PM PST by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: kennedy
I second that. "Paybacks a b%^ch!"
5 posted on 03/24/2004 1:27:12 PM PST by pctech
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To: kennedy
Go Nader, go! Payback for Perot.

I'll second that!

6 posted on 03/24/2004 1:28:35 PM PST by Fiddlstix (This Space Available for Rent or Lease by the Day, Week, or Month. Reasonable Rates. Inquire within.)
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To: demlosers
I live in Illinois. Should I bother with trying to get sigs in my area?
7 posted on 03/24/2004 1:30:43 PM PST by DeathTaxesNoles
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To: demlosers
Where do I sign.
8 posted on 03/24/2004 1:31:01 PM PST by NeoCaveman (Hey John F'in. Kerry, why the long face?)
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To: dubyaismypresident
GO NADER GO.EVERY TIME KERRY OPENS HIS MOUTH YOU PICKUP MORE VOTES.
9 posted on 03/24/2004 1:45:26 PM PST by jocko12
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To: demlosers
Good to see I'm eligible to sign the petition here in Texas (worked late last election day and didn't vote)!

It's important that Nader get on the ballot in high-profile states like Texas since that gives him more "legitimacy". In other words, if even one leftist is inclined to vote for Ralph in a toss-up state, it's worth the effort of getting Ralph on the ballot from sea to shining sea.
10 posted on 03/24/2004 2:15:05 PM PST by LincolnLover
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To: demlosers
Here in Texas, we have until May 10 to get valid petition signatures in, so it's time to "get on the stick", so to speak. Here's the relevant link to Ralph's website: http://www.votenader.com/ballot_access/index.php?cid=63;
11 posted on 03/24/2004 2:17:33 PM PST by LincolnLover
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To: demlosers
"If it was all that hard the Libertarians wouldn't have done it," he said.

Is that a dig, Ralph?

LOL!

12 posted on 03/24/2004 3:06:20 PM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: demlosers
I have a question. In states where Kerry is is believed to win, such as MA, NJ, NY, CA: could conservatives vote Nader and push him over Kerry, giving electoral votes to Nader?
13 posted on 03/24/2004 3:16:54 PM PST by olde north church (My previous tagline was removed under penalty of law.)
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To: olde north church
No. Not really. After all, Nader would only win something like 5-10% of the vote, even in the best states, meaning that pretty much every Republican would have to vote for Nader to push him into a narrow win.
14 posted on 03/24/2004 3:43:00 PM PST by victoryatallcosts
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To: victoryatallcosts
Would the possibility of even a narrow win make it worthwhile?
15 posted on 03/24/2004 3:48:56 PM PST by olde north church (My previous tagline was removed under penalty of law.)
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To: olde north church
Nader saved the day for Bush not only in Florida, but in 3 or 4 other states as well. Nader cannot possibly win any state. "Campaign" for Nader among Democrats, if you like, but vote for Bush.

16 posted on 03/24/2004 6:46:05 PM PST by Dark Glasses and Corncob Pipe (14, 15, 16...whatever!)
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To: demlosers
Third, fourth... even a fifth candidate should be encouraged. (Especially if it's going to divide the Liberals)
17 posted on 03/24/2004 6:46:21 PM PST by Bismarck
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To: Dark Glasses and Corncob Pipe
The NJ Democrat Party will be promising NJ to the Kerry campaign.
After all the New Jersey blood that was spilled on 9/11, there is check that is ready to be cashed.
If NJ doesn't go to Bush, give it to Nader.
Polls can be tracked every day from two weeks before the election, then add the typical Dem +3% fraud mark up, if it looks OBVIOUS President Bush is not doing well, use contingency Nader.
The New Jersey Democrat Party should be embarrassed.
Kerry should be humiliated.
They should be sent back home like little whooped pups.
It should be funny to watch them make excuses.
Not all Northeast Republicans are RINOs.
It's only business.
18 posted on 03/25/2004 12:27:36 AM PST by olde north church (Free Occupied Jersey)
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