May 10, 2004
Deadline day for Nader

Today is the deadline for getting on the Presidential ballot in Texas, and it's not clear if Ralph Nader will have enough petition signatures to make it.

Monday is the deadline for Nader to submit to the Texas secretary of state the 64,076 signatures of registered voters required to list him on the ballot for the November election.

Texas has been a focus of the longtime consumer advocate, who has visited the state repeatedly since announcing his second bid for the White House in February.


Campaign organizers said Sunday that it was uncertain whether they would make the deadline for Nader, who is not yet on the ballot in any state.

"It's going to be close," Jason Kafoury, national field coordinator for the Nader campaign, told The Dallas Morning News in Monday's editions. "Tens of thousands of petitions are pouring in, and we just don't know how it will go."

One Nader spokesman said supporters had about 40,000 signatures in hand as the weekend began.

Texas is one of the states with the most difficult requirements. Nader, 70, failed in April to get on the ballot in Oregon. That state's law permits a one-day convention of 1,000 for a candidate to get on the ballot, but Nader drew fewer than 750 people then.


Nader's entire organization has focused on President Bush's stronghold state, sending six of the campaign's field staff to Texas. Hundreds of volunteers have also fanned out, hitting as many festivals, concerts and college campuses as possible.

Nader has said he was confident he would get the signatures required in Texas. But he said that giving independents in the state only 60 days -- from March 10 to May 10 -- to collect nearly 65,000 signatures is "onerous and arbitrary."

To be valid, signatures must be from registered Texas voters who did not vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary.

Nader has promised to sue if he doesn't make it on the ballot.

Boy, doesn't that last sentence just fill your heart with song? I don't have any particular warmth for third parties and their candidates, but I'll admit that each states' procedures can fairly be called arbitrary. Whether they're somehow illegal is a much deeper question, and I for one wouldn't bank on the courts seeing it that way. Star-Telegram link via the Joe Hill Dispatch.

More from the Morning News:

Greg Kafoury knew he was in trouble when he started encountering folks he had already approached in hopes they would sign petitions to get Ralph Nader on Texas' presidential ballot.

But even that beat getting kicked out of a local library and a potential Nader stronghold, the University of Texas campus, where he and others were herded to less visible zones reserved for free speech.

"A lot of people are saying they have already signed," Mr. Kafoury said after being rejected by a man rounding the corner of Sixth Street and Congress Avenue on two walking sticks. "We're hitting the same people."

In some cities, Nader supporters have had to get letters from city lawyers to collect signatures at various sites.

"We find ourselves on street corners," he said.

Dammit. I really, really hate having to waste any sympathy on these jokers, but shunting them off into "free speech zones" is just plain wrong. The whole country is a free speech zone, OK? Let them peddle their petitions anyplace where they're not actively disturbing the peace or trespassing. It's messy, it's annoying, it's inconvenient for most of us, and it's 100% the American way. And it shuts down a line of complaint when they fail to achieve their objective.

Anyway. I'm not sure if we'll know tomorrow what Nader's fate here will be - he may have enough raw signatures but get disqualified later because too many of them were invalid. I'll keep an eye on this.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 10, 2004 to The making of the President | TrackBack

Nader is older than Reagan was when he was campaigning for President in 1980. Where are the throngs and masses of liberals screaming that Nader is too old to serve?

Oh... wait... they're probably all over 70 now, too, and they know well enough to keep their mouths quiet because when you're that old you should stay out of Presidential politics.

Posted by: Laurence Simon on May 10, 2004 10:33 AM

We're screaming at Nader not to run for other reasons. Not that he's listening.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on May 10, 2004 10:47 AM

1) He's probably hard of hearing. He's seventy, you know. Old and frail. Not fit to be President by 1980 standards.
2) Perhaps if you yell at him for the reasons that he's unfit to run, he might listen. At least if you get past that #1 problem.

Posted by: Laurence Simon on May 10, 2004 10:56 AM

Why would the signatures be invalid? Because they are all signatures of registered Republicans? :-)

Posted by: Tim on May 10, 2004 12:27 PM

Or illegals that don't understand the meaning of the petition and are just being exploited for political gain by those wacky Texas Democrats. ;)

Posted by: Laurence Simon on May 10, 2004 1:08 PM

For the record, the main reason a sig might be invalid would be if the signer voted in either Presidential primary in March. I presume having signed another candidate's petition would also invalidate the sig, as it would for a spot on the party primary ballot.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on May 10, 2004 1:14 PM