Ralph Nader's bid to overturn Texas' ballot access laws was rejected by a federal court today, meaning that he is still not on the Texas ballot.
Nader's campaign had claimed Texas ballot access requirements for independent candidates are the toughest in the nation and unconstitutional, noting they are more stringent than those faced by third-party candidates.
Texas has one of the earliest deadlines to qualify for the presidential ballot and requires independent candidates to collect about 20,000 more signatures than those required by third-party contenders.
Nader's campaign tried to get him on the ballot by collecting voter signatures but turned them in two weeks after the state deadline in May.
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled state ballot access laws did not create an unconstitutional burden.
Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese said the campaign would appeal.
"We find the position to be unpersuasive and it doesn't look like the judge understands the issues," Zeese said.
At trial, Nader's attorneys argued the state has no legitimate reason to have different requirements for independent and third-party candidates.
Lawyers for the state argued the signature and time requirements were not unreasonable and could have been met with a better effort by Nader's group.
Nader was required to collect at least 64,076 signatures by May 10 from registered voters who did not vote in the Democratic or Republican primaries. That equals 1 percent of all votes cast for president in the last election in Texas.
Third-party candidates needed to collect 45,540 signatures by May 24, the day Nader's campaign turned in its signatures. Earlier this week, the Libertarian Party was certified for the Texas ballot.
Of the 80,000 signatures Nader's campaign filed in May, a random sample by the state showed that between 56,215 and 63,374 were valid. Those numbers would have qualified Nader under the third-party access rules but not as an independent candidate.
Elsewhere, Nader appears to have been nominated by the national Reform Party, or whatever is left of it after their debacle of 2000. Anyone who thinks that the two major parties are incoherent should ponder what an organization that would have Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, and Ralph Nader in succession as its standard-bearer might represent. Anyway, in doing so this appears to have gotten Nader on the Florida ballot, though that state's Democratic Party seems likely to challenge him.Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 01, 2004 to The making of the President | TrackBack