By Jeff Louderback

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Minutes after a voter rally where he told a crowd of 800 that “he intends to win” the 2024 presidential election, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told reporters that he will name a vice presidential candidate “fairly soon.”

Mr. Kennedy, who left the Democrat primary to run as an independent on Oct. 9, is traveling the country and holding voter rallies, where he collects signatures to meet requirements for appearing on the ballot of all 50 states and Washington D.C.

Independent and third-party presidential candidates must declare their vice presidential pick in more than half of the states to get on the ballot, which presents a sense of urgency to announce his choice, Mr. Kennedy admitted.

“I’m looking for somebody who is aligned with me on some important issues, including unraveling the warfare state,” but “I don’t need someone who agrees with me on everything,” Mr. Kennedy said.

“I’m interested in someone who wants to end the division we face in this country. It’s a good exercise for the American people to see political leaders who have high regard for each other, even if they don’t have the same views on every issue,” he added.

Mr. Kennedy declined to say who he was considering as his running mate, but he noted that he was “looking at a broad range of people.”

Mr. Kennedy’s campaign developed a strategy of dividing state ballot access guidelines into a tiered system based on if a named running mate is required, and if there is a date when they can start petitioning the number of signatures needed. Deadlines for submitting petitions and the number of signatures needed are other considerations, Mr. Kennedy’s press secretary Stefanie Spear said.

Ms. Spear added that “a few other states” fall into the campaign’s tier one category “where you don’t need a VP pick, you don’t need electors selected, and they’re open for petition collection.”

“We have a robust ballot-access team and RFK Jr.’s name will be on the ballot in all 50 states,” Ms. Spear explained. “We have begun signature collection in open states and are confident Mr. Kennedy will get the 270 electoral votes he needs to win the White House.”

At the voter rallies, Mr. Kennedy highlights his independent campaign platform, answers questions, poses for selfies, and encourages attendees to sign petitions to get him on the ballot.

“Normally, independent candidates pay companies millions of dollars to gather signatures. We’re taking a different route that starts with our thousands of volunteers in every state,” Mr. Kennedy said at a voter rally in Lincoln, Nebraska on Dec. 12.

Nebraska awards two electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote statewide and one vote apiece to the victors in each of the state’s three congressional districts.

President Donald Trump received four electoral votes in Nebraska in 2020. President Joe Biden gained one vote from the Omaha-based 2nd Congressional District.

In 2008, Barack Obama became the first Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 to capture an electoral vote in the state.

Nebraska and Maine are the only states that split their votes.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. meets with reporters after a voter rally in Kansas City, Mo., on Dec. 13. (Jeff Louderback/The Epoch Times)

At the Lincoln and Kansas City campaign stops, Mr. Kennedy talked about the challenges of collecting signatures to get on the ballot that “President Biden and President Trump don’t have” and told audience members that “I need an army, and you’re it.”

He must collect at least 2,500 valid signatures from registered Nebraska voters to appear on the general election ballot. Missouri requires 10,000 signatures, while the minimum in Kansas is 5,000.

The challenge of getting on the ballot in every state and Washington D.C. is grueling, time-consuming, and expensive.

Guidelines for securing a ballot spot differ in many states, as do deadlines. North Carolina and Texas, for example, require independent candidates to file by mid-May. Multiple states have summer deadlines.

Mr. Kennedy must gather about 200,000 signatures in California, about 145,000 in Florida, and more than 110,000 in Texas, according to the rules in those states. Tennessee requires only 275 signatures.

Some states have varying guidelines about the number of signees in different parts of their state.

Legal challenges from Democrats and Republicans intent on keeping Mr. Kennedy off the ballot are possible. There are processes to challenge signatures after they’ve been submitted to election offices in multiple states.

American Values 2024, a super PAC supporting the election of Mr. Kennedy, said last week that it plans to spend as much as $15 million to get the candidate on the ballot in 10 states deemed important to winning the election.

A spokesperson for the super PAC said the organization will spend money to collect signatures by hand, as state law requires, in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, New York, and Texas.

“We have chosen to pursue these critical states, some of them battlegrounds, due to the complexity of the state election codes and the volume of signatures necessary to achieve ballot access,” said Deirdre Golffard, the special counsel of ballot access for American Values 2024.

At a voter rally in Lincoln, Neb., on Dec. 12, 2023, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. encouraged supporters to sign his ballot access petitions. (Jeff Louderback/The Epoch Times)

Tony Lyons, co-founder of American Values 2024, noted that the organization could also help with legal challenges if they arise.

“We are prepared for inevitable attacks from both sides of the aisle,” Mr. Lyons said. “They will work overtime in a futile attempt to keep Bobby off both the ballot and the debate stage.”

Mr. Kennedy has called ballot access laws for independent and third-party candidates “among the worst forms of voter suppression in America today” and said that state officials should work together to “streamline and standardize ballot access procedures.”

Utah was the first deadline Mr. Kennedy faced until the state’s Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson announced she would extend the deadline for independent presidential candidates to gain ballot access to March 5, 2024.

Mr. Kennedy filed a lawsuit against Utah officials on Dec. 4, citing an “unconstitutional early filing deadline” that prevents 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.

The lawsuit will continue to advance through the courts, even with the decision to extend the deadline. In the same court filing, Ms. Henderson asked that a hearing take place the week of Jan. 15, 2024.

In Kansas City, Mr. Kennedy told the crowd that he had collected enough signatures to submit for approval to appear on the ballot.

Del Bigtree, who is communications director of Mr. Kennedy’s campaign, told The Epoch Times that “we believe we have more than double the number of signatures they’re asking for,” but the campaign has yet to submit them.

Mr. Kennedy’s voter rally tour will continue in Phoenix on Dec. 20.

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