Nader doesn't make ballot in Oregon
The news could bolster Sen. John Kerry's bid to keep Oregon, and could hurt President Bush's efforts to take the state
September 1, 2004 - 1:55 PM
Secretary of State Bill Bradbury announced today that independent candidates Ralph Nader and Sandra Kucera failed to qualify for the Oregon presidential and vice presidential ballot.
The Nader/Kucera campaign turned in 15,088 valid signatures, failing to meet the statutory requirement of 15,306 to qualify for the ballot.
Oregon is expected to be a highly contested state in this year's presidential election. Al Gore won Oregon by the slimmest of margins in 2000. Many pundits believe that Nader's name on this year's ballot could be enough to push Oregon into the grasp of President Bush, and away from the Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry.
Consequently, many Republicans had been advocating for Nader to be on the Oregon ballot, and many Democrats had been fighting to keep him off the ballot.
The Nader/Kucera campaign brought signatures to the Secretary of State's Elections Division last week, but many of the signatures do not count because of the Nader campaign's failure to comply with the legal requirements governing petition circulation and signature sheets.
"It's my duty to uphold the law, and it is clear that signatures on sheets that do not comply with the law cannot be counted," Bradbury said.
There were numerous problems with the Nader/Kucera petitions, according to Bradbury's office. Among the many requirements that were not met by the Nader/Kucera campaign, the law requires that signature sheets be numbered by the campaign before being turned in to the county clerks for signature verification. The numbers allow sheets to be tracked and double-checked between the county clerks and the Elections Division. Elections officials found that in many cases signature sheets were not numbered by the campaign at all, or the numbers were altered by the Nader campaign after the sheets left the county clerks but before they were turned in to the Secretary of State.
"Any alteration of public documents opens the door to fraud," said Bradbury, "and threatens the integrity of the elections process."
Additional signatures could not be counted because of the Nader/Kucera campaign's failure to properly sign and date signature sheets, the secretary of state's office said. The sign and date rules, recently upheld by a federal court, also serve to prevent fraud.
Bradbury — a Democrat — went on to say that he was "disappointed in the Nader campaign," but that "Nader failed to follow the law, and my job is to uphold it."