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RFK Jr.’s campaign says it has enough signatures to get on NV ballot; validation pending

If county officials verify enough signatures, the only obstacle to Kennedy’s place on the ballot is a pending Democrat-led lawsuit seeking to keep him off.
Eric Neugeboren
Eric Neugeboren
Election 2024Elections

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent presidential campaign said Wednesday it gathered enough signatures for its petition to place him on the November general election ballot in Nevada, and county election officials will now undertake a signature verification process.

The campaign submitted more than 20,000 signatures to Clark County election officials Wednesday and plans to submit about 8,000 signatures in Washoe County on Friday, said Randell Hynes, the Kennedy campaign’s coordinator for the state. The campaign also plans to submit signatures in several rural counties Friday, which is the final day that presidential campaigns can submit signatures for ballot petitions.

At least 10,095 signatures must be verified for the campaign to qualify for the general election ballot. County officials have four days — not including holidays and weekends — to verify the number of valid signatures and submit the count to state election officials.

The signature submission is the latest development in a ballot access campaign that has featured lawsuits, invalid petitions, misspellings on official documents and allegations of political interference. Even if enough signatures are approved, the Nevada Democratic Party has sued to keep Kennedy off the ballot, alleging his affiliation with other political parties violates state requirements for independent candidates.

Kennedy initially entered the presidential race as a Democrat last year before deciding to run as an independent.

The Democrats’ lawsuit comes amid fears that Kennedy’s inclusion on the Nevada ballot could prove costly for President Joe Biden. Polls show former President Donald Trump leading Biden in Nevada by an average of about 4 percent when no third-party candidates are included, but by 5 percent when third-party candidates are counted. Kennedy consistently receives about 10 percent of the Nevada vote when matched against Biden and Trump, according to polls.

Kennedy is an environmental lawyer and nephew of John F. Kennedy. He rose to prominence during the pandemic because of his anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.

This is the second time the Kennedy campaign has submitted signatures to qualify for Nevada’s ballot. In March, his campaign said it had collected more than 15,000 signatures, but that petition was deemed invalid because the petition did not list a running mate, as is required under state law. Kennedy’s campaign sued the state last month over its ballot petition rules, but that lawsuit will be rendered moot if enough of the signatures submitted this week are approved because this is an amended petition that includes his running mate, attorney Nicole Shanahan.

Amid the uncertainty surrounding the initial ballot petition, the Kennedy campaign filed a new petition with a running mate included in early June, with about one month left to gather enough signatures. The next week, however, the campaign filed a new petition after discovering the previous one had misspelled “United States” twice. There are no state statutes that indicate such a mistake could have prevented ballot access. 

The third petition was the one circulated for signatures in the past month.

Kennedy has said “there’s no vaccine that is safe and effective” — a comment he has since tried to walk back — that vaccines cause autism and that the coronavirus might have been “ethnically targeted” to spare Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people. The World Health Organization reports that vaccines “are very safe” and prevent adverse effects from harmful diseases.

Earlier this week, a Vanity Fair article revealed for the first time sexual assault allegations against him brought by a former family babysitter. Kennedy declined to comment on the allegations but acknowledged he is not a “church boy” and said there are “so many skeletons in my closet that if they could all vote, I could run for king of the world.”

He held a rally in Las Vegas in February, during which he echoed a common campaign pledge to tell the National Institutes of Health to take a “break” on drug production and efforts to curtail infectious diseases. His other policy positions are relatively mainstream Democratic ideas, including a federal $15 minimum wage, transitioning to cleaner energy sources and police reform.


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