RFK Jr. Passes Hurdle to Qualify for His First 2024 Ballot in Utah

RFK Jr. Passes Hurdle to Qualify for His First 2024 Ballot in Utah

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Utah is the first state where Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has submitted signatures.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s quest to get on the ballot in all 50 states and Washington surpassed its first hurdle with the announcement that he has met the signature requirement to appear on Utah’s 2024 general election presidential ballot.

Mr. Kennedy collected the required number of at least 1,000 verified signatures, according to the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office.

Utah is the first state where Mr. Kennedy has submitted signatures. He has scheduled a press conference in Salt Lake City on Jan. 3 to formally announce his ballot status, according to a campaign spokesperson.

Mr. Kennedy has called Utah’s previous signature-gathering deadline for independent and third-party candidates “unconstitutional.”

He filed a lawsuit against Utah officials on Dec. 4 challenging Utah’s Jan. 8 deadline for independent presidential candidates to collect and verify 1,000 signatures from qualified voters.

Mr. Kennedy’s lawsuit argued that “the current deadline is the earliest deadline ever sought to be imposed on independent presidential candidates in the modern era. No federal court has ever upheld a January deadline [for independent presidential candidates].”

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On Dec. 7, Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson announced she would extend the deadline for independent presidential candidates to gain ballot access to March 5, 2024.

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

‘Voter Suppression’

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.”

The challenge of getting on the ballot in all 50 states and Washington 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.

Mr. Kennedy has expressed confidence that he will appear on the ballot in every state and the nation’s capital. He told The Epoch Times that his campaign is supported by a “grassroots army” and he is aiming to get 60 percent more signatures than needed in every state to “provide a cushion.”

He said there are “a handful of states that make it very, very difficult. New York is one. California is another. Texas is another. We’ll likely have to do some litigation, and we will have litigation against us,” Mr. Kennedy said.

Signature Strategy

At voter rallies across the country, 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.

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

The organization intends to 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,” Deirdre Goldfarb, an adviser to American Values 2024, said in a press release.

Signatures from the 10 states represent about half of what is required to secure a spot for Mr. Kennedy on ballots nationwide.

If Mr. Kennedy achieves his goal of appearing on the ballot in all 50 states and Washington, he could make the 2024 presidential general election more competitive.

A Quinnipiac University poll released on Dec. 20 shows that, in a hypothetical three-way race, President Joe Biden received 38 percent, former President Donald Trump received 36 percent, and Mr. Kennedy received 22 percent. The survey has a 2.4 percent margin of error.
Monmouth University published a poll on Dec. 10 indicating that 1 in 5 voters would support Mr. Kennedy and 49 percent are “not at all” enthusiastic about a possible President Biden-President Trump rematch.

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