RFK Jr. Gathers Enough Signatures to Appear on the North Carolina Ballot
RFK Jr. Gathers Enough Signatures to Appear on the North Carolina Ballot

By Jeff Louderback

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has collected enough signatures to appear on the North Carolina presidential election ballot, according to a press release released by his campaign on April 1.

Considered a key battleground state, North Carolina has 16 electoral votes. It represents the largest state for which Mr. Kennedy has secured a ballot spot to date.

In the 2020 presidential election, North Carolina was the fifth-closest swing state in the 2020 presidential election. President Donald Trump won the state with 50.1 percent of the vote compared to 48.7 percent for Joe Biden.

Since announcing last October that he would leave the Democrat presidential primary and run as an Independent, Mr. Kennedy has said multiple times that he would appear on the general election ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

To combat anticipated challenges from Democrats and Republicans regarding the validity of signatures, Mr. Kennedy’s campaign has said they are collecting 60 percent more signatures than required in every state.

In North Carolina, Mr. Kennedy is running under the We the People party, which he established earlier this year. His campaign has collected 23,000 signatures, which is 10,000 more than required.

Before Mr. Kennedy introduced Nicole Shanahan, a Silicon Valley lawyer, entrepreneur, and investor, as his running mate last week, his campaign was actively gathering signatures in 16 states.

Multiple states require that independent and third-party candidates name a vice president before collecting signatures. Mr. Kennedy’s announcement of Ms. Shanahan opened 19 additional states for the signature-collection process.

“We have the field teams, volunteers, legal teams, paid circulators, supporters, and strategists ready to get the job done,” Stefanie Spear, Mr. Kennedy’s press secretary, said in a statement, adding that the candidate will appear on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Mr. Kennedy so far has qualified for the ballot as an Independent in Hawaii, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Utah, and now North Carolina under the We the People party.

In January, Mr. Kennedy’s campaign said it had filed paperwork in six states to create a political party. The move was made to get his name on the ballots with fewer voter signatures than those states require for unaffiliated candidates.

A statement by Mr. Kennedy’s campaign reported that filing for political party status in the six states reduced the number of signatures required for him to gain ballot access by about 330,000.

The We the People party was established in five states: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Mississippi, and North Carolina. The Texas Independent Party was also formed.

American Values 2024, a super PAC working to get Mr. Kennedy elected, said it has collected enough valid signatures for the candidate to get on the ballot in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and South Carolina.

Mr. Kennedy closed February with access to more than $23.7 million cash, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Since announcing that he would run as an Independent instead of a Democrat, Mr. Kennedy has lamented the challenges that an independent candidate faces compared to Democrats and Republicans, who have no ballot access constraints.

“Nearly all of our budget is devoted to achieving ballot access in the 50 states and [the District of Columbia] so we can end these political stunts aimed at preserving power between two and only two political parties,” the campaign said in a statement.

On Super Tuesday, March 5, while President Biden and former President Trump celebrated multiple victories, Mr. Kennedy’s campaign said it had collected enough signatures to appear on the Nevada general election ballot.

Nevada is considered a key swing state in the presidential election. In 2020, Joe Biden won the state by less than 35,000 votes over President Trump. Mr. Kennedy’s campaign said it had gathered 15,000 signatures to get on the Nevada ballot.

Mr. Kennedy’s campaign is now threatening legal action after the Nevada Secretary of State’s office admitted it had made a mistake in informing his ballot access team that independent candidates must “designate a nominee for vice president” when collecting signatures to get on the ballot in the state.

“After successfully collecting all of the signatures we need in Nevada, the DNC Goon Squad and their lackeys in the Nevada Secretary of State’s office are outright inventing a new requirement for the petition with zero legal basis,” Paul Rossi, Mr. Kennedy’s ballot access attorney, said in a statement.

“The Nevada statute does not require the VP on the petition. The petition does not even have a field for a VP on it,” Mr. Rossi added.

Mr. Rossi produced an email from one of Mr. Kennedy’s ballot access managers that asked if a vice presidential candidate must be listed on the petition forms. A staffer with the Nevada secretary of state said, “No.”

On Jan. 9, the secretary of state’s office approved Mr. Kennedy’s petition, according to documentation that Mr. Rossi has presented.

The secretary of state’s office apologized for misinforming Mr. Kennedy’s campaign but said that it must abide by the petition gathering law. Mr. Kennedy’s campaign could have to start over collecting signatures in Nevada with Ms. Shanahan listed on the ticket.

Democrat Cisco Aguilar is Nevada’s secretary of state.

Last month, Mr. Kennedy successfully challenged a ballot access deadline in Idado.

He filed a lawsuit challenging Section 34-708A of the Idaho code requiring that independent candidates file nomination petitions with a minimum of 1,000 verified signatures with the Secretary of State’s office no later than March 15.

The legal action cited a case from 1980 filed by then-independent presidential candidate John Anderson. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a March 20 deadline imposed by the state of Ohio for independent presidential candidates violated the U.S. Constitution because it was too early and didn’t allow voters to learn enough about any candidates other than those in the two major parties.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill for the District of Idaho notified Idaho Secretary of State Phil McGrane that he would extend the March 15 deadline if the state legislature didn’t amend the law.

Utah had been the first deadline facing the Kennedy campaign until Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, a Republican, announced that she would extend the deadline for Independent presidential candidates to gain ballot access to March 5.

Mr. Kennedy filed a lawsuit against Utah officials on Dec. 4, 2023, citing an “unconstitutional early filing deadline” that prevented ballot access for Independent presidential candidates.

The legal action challenged Utah’s Jan. 8 deadline requiring Independent presidential candidates to collect and verify 1,000 signatures from qualified voters.

Mr. Kennedy argued in the lawsuit that “the current deadline is the earliest deadline ever sought to be imposed on Independent presidential candidates in the modern era. No federal court has ever upheld a January deadline for Independent presidential candidates.”

Ultimately, although the deadline was extended, Mr. Kennedy’s campaign held a news conference before the Jan. 8 deadline announcing that he had met the requirements to appear on the state’s general election ballot.

“I will be on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in November! It’s a challenging system running outside the lines of Republican or Democrat channels, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Mr. Kennedy wrote on X last month. “It’s clear Americans want to break free from the two-party system.”

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