portland independent media center  
images audio video
promoted newswire article reporting oregon & cascadia

selection 2004

Nader Campaign Calls on Secretary of State to Respect Each Signature

Last Tuesday, 8/24/04, the Nader Campaign submitted more than 18K signatures, each of which had been individually validated by County Elections officials. This process included confirming that the signor was currently registered to vote in that county and comparing the actual signature on the sheet to the original signature of that voter as displayed on a computer screen.
Voters were weeded out who had moved or had not voted for a period of time. Also not counted were those who were properly registered but in a different county. The verified signatures came from over 28,000 signatures actually submitted by the campaign. The verification numbers were consistent with those of other political campaigns.

Now the Secretary of State is being pressured by politically inspired groups to strike whole categories of signatures based on matters that have nothing whatsoever to do with the validity of the signatures themselves. These include such administrative technicalities as whether petition sheets were numbered by the counties or by the Nader Campaign, the failure of a circulator to include the year when writing the date of his signature (even though all signatures were obviously this year, since the petition did not exist before July 2004), or where the signature gatherer wrote two dates, one indicating the date that he began circulating for signatures, and the other indicating the day the person stopped circulating.

"Those seeking to prevent Oregon voters from having an opportunity to vote for Nader this fall have now been reduced to complaining about the most trivial administrative matters in order to pressure the Secretary to strike entire sheets of signatures, when the signatures themselves have already been established as valid. We urge the Secretary to uphold the integrity of Oregon's election law by honoring the signatures which have already been established as valid, and we urge him to reject the political pressure of those who seek nothing but to limit the choices of Oregon's voters," said Greg Kafoury, a spokesman for the campaign.

The same people seeking to discard these signature had their representative observing the validation process in the tri-county area, and they had an opportunity to object to signatures that they thought should not have been verified. Further, the Secretary of State's office ordered the removal of signature sheets at the county elections for any number of administrative considerations, and this meant that the sheets were no longer consecutively numbered. Based on advice from the Secretary of State, the Nader Campaign submitted sheets which did not have numbers, so that these sheets could later be inserted into the sequence in order to restore consecutive numbering. Now this process, which was already approved, faces complaint by those who have no valid basis to complain about anything.

Great Spirits 31.Aug.2004 07:59


Have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

Happens to Greens all the time 31.Aug.2004 12:32

Repost from SF Examiner

Here's the op-ed from SF Examiner. Note that Baum, Green Party candidate, had enough signatures to qualify but because the voter writing in Terry Baum's name didn't write in the name and check the little box next to the write in, those signatures were declared invalid and Terry Baum was removed from the ballot.

Give Baum the spot she earned
Published on Thursday, July 15, 2004
URL:  http://www.examiner.com/article/index.cfm/i/071504op_editorial

THIS MORNING, TERRY BAUM goes to court to fight for something she already earned fair and square.

Baum, the Green Party candidate running for the 8th District seat in the House of Representatives against Democratic Party incumbent Rep. Nancy Pelosi, is asking the San Francisco Superior Court to agree that the she was illegally evicted from a spot on the printed ballot for the November election.

Baum ran as a write-in candidate in the March primary seeking the Green nomination. She needed 1,605 votes to qualify, and after a two-week hand count of ballots, including absentee, provisional and spoiled cards, San Francisco Department of Elections John Arntz told her she had garnered 1,651. Baum's successful campaign was a noteworthy rarity, as elections expert Richard Winger told The Examiner in March that no third-party write-in candidate had accomplished that feat since 1968, when three members of the Black Panthers qualified for the Peace and Freedom ticket.

But a few days later, Arntz came back and told Baum that he was disqualifying 229 of her votes because the ballot cards hadn't been properly filled out. Later backed up by the City Attorney's Office, he said an obscure state elections code required that voters complete an arrow next to the spot where they wrote in Baum's name, despite the fact that her name obviously was deliberately written in by the voter. In short, Baum no longer would be on the written ballot in the fall.

We can't condone Baum's sit-in at a San Francisco elections office in the wake of the Department of Elections' decision -- we're not sure what influence that sort of tactic is supposed to have on elections law. And we disagree with some of her positions on the issues. But her frustration with the seemingly fickle decisions of elections officials is perfectly understandable. A spot on the printed ballot is an important goal for third-party candidates, as voters are much more likely to vote for someone whose name they can already see there.

But the most important principle at work here is that voters clearly went out of their way to support Baum, and their votes should count. Courts have historically upheld votes even when the ballot is damaged, or a write-in candidate's name is misspelled or incomplete, Baum argues.

She's right. The court should recognize that the arrows on San Francisco's ballots are there to make it easier for machines to tally votes, but that a voter's handwritten vote spelling out a candidate's name is a clear and unambiguous signal of their intent to support that candidate. Baum should go back on November's ballot.

adminstrative technicalities are the law 01.Sep.2004 17:57


Now, the news is out: the Nader backers failed to submit enough legal signatures to get Nader on the ballot.

Whenever the law is against you (in this case, election law) it's tempting to describe it as "trivial administrative" details or things of the sort. In fact, such arguments are always made by conservatives who want to limit the rights of the arrested, limit the rights of environmental groups to file lawsuits, etc.

If you don't agree with the laws, change them, but don't denigrate them with names just because you've failed to follow them. But if our elected officials just start ignoring laws because they want to, it's hard to see where we end up. The anarchists among us may like it, but most folks won't.

18,000 STRONG 01.Sep.2004 20:34


In response to the previous post, well over 18000 signitures have been verified, ceritified and validated by each country and the secretary of state, repsectfully. Many other signitures written in support of Ralph, a legendary and relentless man of action and peace, were disqualified because of abbreviations, items of information, although filled out, were plaed in the wrong box. Clearly the person who wrote this article has never worked inc anvassing, because they would talk so disrespectfully about all the effort of the many people who were battling for democracy in the streets. The legal requirment for signitures was 15,000, we collect thousnads over that, more than were required to get ralph on the ballot in nNew York, a state with over six time sthe population of Oregon. Long live peace and justice.

Where does Sec Bradbury Stand? 04.Sep.2004 00:26


Where does OR Sec State Bradbury stand on this issue? Is he likely to interpret that the unnumbered sheets were done on good faith and possibly on the advice of his office or is he, being a Kerry supporter, following the all fair in love, war and politics motto? Does it appear that Secretary Bradbury will approve the Nader petition? and Nader will be on the OR ballot?