Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

RFK Jr.’s VP pick comes amid a big, difficult ballot access push

By 37ci3 Mar15,2024

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is set to announce his candidacy this month as he runs for president as an independent. And the timing is no coincidence — his decision will come as he needs a running mate to qualify for the ballot in most states, with some filing deadlines coming up soon.

Kennedy is trying to qualify for the ballot in all 50 states, and at least 26 of them require him to file his nomination papers with a running mate, according to an NBC News analysis of state ballot access requirements.

Qualifying each state’s ballot is a difficult undertaking that can cost millions of dollars and requires gathering more than 900,000 signatures across the country.

The campaign estimated the effort could cost $15 million. According to a fundraising report filed with the Federal Election Commission, Kennedy’s campaign had just over $4.8 million in its account at the end of January. Meanwhile, the deadlines for obtaining ballots are fast approaching. They have already passed through North Carolina, Utah and Idaho.

Kennedy’s campaign said it had collected enough signatures to get on the ballot in Utah, as well as New Hampshire, Nevada and Hawaii. The campaign is also starting to gather signatures in Texas.

The pro-Kennedy super PAC American Values ​​2024 announced this week He would stop collecting signatures on Kennedy’s behalf however, he said he has raised enough to be placed on the ballot in Arizona, Michigan, Georgia and South Carolina. However, some petition signatures are usually considered invalid when turned in and verified by election officials, so campaigns and other groups often try to collect more than the minimum.

There’s another twist: Although the deadline for independent candidates in North Carolina has passed, Kennedy’s supporters there are taking a different route to voting. His supporters in North Carolina and five other states – Hawaii, California, Delaware, Mississippi and Texas they created their own political parties.

The way No Labels is trying to get the presidential ticket on the national ballot requires fewer signatures in some states than Kennedy’s usual nominating petition collection elsewhere. For example, an independent candidate for president in North Carolina had to collect more than 83,000 signatures by March 5.

However, the new political party must collect only about 13,000 petition signatures by the beginning of June.

Still, Kennedy’s campaign faces a sprint. More than 21 states will have passed their deadlines by August, and 24 additional states will implement deadlines that month.

Processes vary by state, and some require a filing fee in addition to petition signatures. But in several of the most important states where Kennedy could have the most impact on the close presidential race, the threshold for getting on the ballot is slightly lower.

In Wisconsin, one of the closest states in 2020, an independent presidential candidate needs just 2,000 petition signatures to get on the ballot — just a fraction of the state’s more than 3.4 million voters.

Independent presidential candidates must collect only 7,500 signatures in Georgia and 5,000 in Pennsylvania.

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By 37ci3

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