Skip to comments.Arkansas Democrats sue to keep Nader off the ballot
Posted on 09/10/2004 7:57:41 PM PDT by HAL9000
LITTLE ROCK The state Democratic Party filed a lawsuit Friday challenging the legality and authenticity of signatures gathered to place Ralph Nader on the presidential election ballot in Arkansas.
The suit was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, a week after the secretary of state's office officially confirmed Nader's place on the ballot. Judge Timothy Fox is to hear arguments in the case Tuesday morning.
The lawsuit charges widespread fraud and other irregularities in the petitions submitted to place the noted consumer activist on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.
It claims more than 300 signatures on the petitions should have been ruled invalid because some names didn't match the appropriate addresses in the state elections database or others were signed by rubber stamps or people who would testify they never signed. A handwriting expert hired by the Democratic Party found some were written by the same person.
The lawsuit also claims that the petitioners used the wrong forms provided by the secretary of state's office, which was responsible for verifying that the signatures were from registered voters.
The suit named as defendants Secretary of State Charlie Daniels, Nader and running mate Peter Camejo, the Populist Party of Arkansas and the boards of election commissioners in each of the state's 75 counties.
Last month, the secretary of state's office certified more than 1,000 signatures of registered Arkansas voters. On Sept. 3, Nader, of Winsted, Conn., was officially accepted as the nominee of the Populist Party, along with running mate Camejo of Folsom, Calif.
Secretary of State Charlie Daniels said his office followed state laws in verifying the signatures. "We stand by the integrity of our procedures," Daniels said in a written statement.
Another part of the Democrats' complaint says the secretary of state's office provided forms that didn't disclose Nader's party affiliation, which is necessary to appear on an Arkansas ballot.
Jim Macri of Mountain View, chairman of the Nader campaign in Arkansas, said he didn't know what the official party name was when he ran the petition drive. He and petition volunteers simply emphasized Nader and Camejo, not a party, and the affiliation was added later to comply with Arkansas law, he said.
If the forms had disclosed Nader's affiliation to the Populist Party, some voters would not have signed the petition, state Democratic Party chairman Ron Oliver said Friday. The last Populist nominee for president in Arkansas was David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, in 1988.
Friday's suit is the 14th court challenge filed by Democratic Party organizations nationwide to keep Nader off state ballots. The efforts were successful in Arizona, but Nader's national spokesman Kevin Zeese said Friday that most of the claims were baseless.
"The Democratic Party is spending more time as law firm than a political organization this year and that's why they're losing in the polls," Zeese said. "It's a shame they don't want to give people a choice. It shows a real lack of confidence in their candidate."
Oliver insisted that he wouldn't have minded Nader appearing on the ballot if his supporters had followed the rules.
Oliver said the party has sued two of its own members in the past to keep them off ballots if they didn't follow the rules. The party was able to remove from the ballot legislative candidates Randy Bowling in Faulkner County in 2000 and Richard Perceful in Ouachita County this year because of residency issues. Both Democrats were challenging other Democrats in primaries.
Although it has nothing to do with the legal challenge, Oliver repeated the party's earlier complaints that several top state Republicans participated in the petition drive to put Nader on the ballot.
Zeese said it was unfortunate that Democrats weren't letting the Nader camp call attention to Bush's failures as president, which he says is what Nader really wants to do.
He also accused the Democrats of scare tactics under the guise of investigating the veracity of the signatures.
"These phone calls to petitioners go like this: 'We see your name signed on this petition to put Ralph Nader on the ballot. Do you know it was funded by Republicans? Are you sure you signed the petition? Do you want to have your name taken off?'" Zeese said based on reports from petition volunteers.
Democratic Party attorney Robin Carroll acknowledged that the party called people whose names appeared on the petitions as a part of an investigation, but denied anyone was harassed.
Macri questioned the Democrats' motives.
"It's been very irregular in how they talk about irregularities," Macri said. "The Goliath-David metaphor comes to mind. I don't understand it because I thought the Democrats were supposed to be for the ordinary person."
The most underreported story of this election cycle is the democrat coordinated campaign to stifle third party candidates. If the Republican Party was doing what the dem's are, it would be front page news everyday.
Go Ralph Go!
Nice to know RATS are concerned about fraudulent signatures. If only they were concerned about fraudulent votes. :)
Ah, another episode brought to you by the party of choice?
I saw a bumper sticker today at the Republican headquarters. It said "Vote Republican. Arkansas Deserves Better." So true.
The problem with AR is that there are too many rural Yellow Dogs who are slaves of the RAT Plantation just as much as minorities are. I sometimes wonder when will the rural folks realize that RATS like Zell Miller are an endangered species and that Michael Moore is face of the RAT party. AR needs more statewide suburban development like the booming suburbs of the NW part of the state, which is the most GOP part of AR.
These people are becoming a parody of themselves.
Since apparently anything goes this election year, Nader should just tell his voters in states where he is not on the ballot to vote Republican.
Oh please! One of the appeals of Arkansas is a blessed lack of suburbia!
You have the right to petition for redress of grievences...provided you use the right form, that we provide???
That would never stand, and neither should this. Intent, and required information should be the only criteria for the form used. Isn't it "voter intent" the DemonRats always try to invoke when they lose?
As to, "others were signed by ... people who would testify they never signed," it makes one wonder what complicity, with intent to defraud the petitioners, these "non-signers" had? It is a neat trick to fraudulently sign, or cause to be signed, then sue to invalidate enough signatures to disqualify the entire effort.
However, we know Democrats would never do that; Republicans are the "dirty tricks party"...just ask the Dims.
Amazing just which party really doesn't believe in democracy and electoral choice!
I hear they've called matley to prove the signatures are fake.
Sweetliberty , I am kinda partial to the lack of good schools and jobs that pay above minimum wage. :p
Did I mention that I love it where I'm living now? It is very rural, for the most part. Shopping kinda sucks, but everything's a trade off. I discovered I have a conservative eye doctor.
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