Saturday, August 09, 2008

Third-Party Candidates Try For Ballot Spots In Most States

Bob Barr and Ralph Nader, the best-known third-party presidential candidates, are on their way to getting onto most state ballots. Barr, a former Republican congressman who is the Libertarian Party nominee, is on 34 ballots and hopes to be on 48 by Election Day, party spokesman Andrew Davis said. Nader, the longtime consumer advocate running as an independent, has submitted petitions to be on 23 ballots. He said Wednesday he hopes to be on at least 45 state ballots before Nov. 4. Getting onto state ballots has long been an issue for third-party candidates. Republicans and Democrats are routinely on the ballot, but third-party candidates have to meet requirements such as submitting petitions of voters. "Ballot access is one of the unknown evils of the American electoral process," Davis said. Nader spokesman Chris Driscoll said Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma and Indiana pose challenges. They include the number of signatures required on petitions, upcoming deadlines and certification requirements.
Third party presidential candidates Bob Barr and Ralph Nader fight ballot access in push to November election.
Davis said it's hardest to get on the ballot in West Virginia and Oklahoma. Barr's campaign manager, Russell Verney, is no stranger to the ballot challenges. He was a top aide in the 1992 and '96 campaigns of Texas billionaire Ross Perot, whose fortune made it easier to hire people to collect voter signatures in all 50 states. Nader said he is running because Barack Obama and John McCain have been "deficient" on "any aggressive crackdown on corporate crime, fraud and abuse." He said neither major party wants to scale back the "huge, bloated military budget." "The country is essentially paralyzed," he said. "It can't respond to problems." Barr could not be reached for comment. He has said he is running to curb big government. Barr has criticized the Iraq war and called the U.S. presence there an "occupation." He lauded the recent Supreme Court decision declaring gun ownership a personal constitutional right. "There can't be change by electing a Republican or a Democrat," Verney said.