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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

John Anderson, Ralph Nader & Ballot Access

Posted by DavidNYC

A while back, in the context of discussing Ralph Nader's drive to get on the ballot in all 50 states, I wondered aloud how John Anderson did it in 1980. Anderson ran as an independent, just as Nader is now. In 2000, Nader had the support of the Green Party, which helped get him on the ballot around the country. But without that third-party support, Nader's going to have a much tougher time this year. (Though what's left of the Reform Party did give Nader ballot lines in seven states, and Ralph has been courting the Greens once again.)

Anyhow, at the Kerry fundraiser I attended on Monday, I was fortunate enough to meet a seasoned political veteran who held a top post with the Anderson campaign. I asked him how they got on the ballot, seeing as they had no institutional support. He told me, quite simply, that the Anderson campaign spent almost every penny it had in order to do so - and that they had lawyers willing to work pro bono.

I don't know what kind of money Nader is capable of raising, but I think that his organization will wind up being as taxed as Anderson's was, if not more so. Democrats are determined to play hardball; as an example, the current wrangling going on over ballot access in Arizona suggests to me that Nader will have big legal bills piling up soon. And I do believe Nader's going to have to pay for his attorneys - rather than get them pro bono, as the Anderson campaign did - seeing as he's had to pay for signature gatherers.

As the summer marches on and Ralph tries to qualify for the ballot in other swing states, we'll see if he's got the cash for this battle. But if he wants to spend his money qualifying in places like Texas, then, by all means, he oughta do so.

UPDATE: I realize my thinking was a little bit muddled on this one. Anderson clearly paid for signatures - that's why the fellow I spoke with said they spent all their money on their ballot access effort. And just because Nader has paid for signatures this time around doesn't necessarily mean that he'll also have to pay for legal work. But the key difference is that Nader's ballot access efforts in 2000 went (as far as I know) mostly unopposed. This time, he'll need to find lawyers - whether paid or unpaid - no matter what. And he'll also have to collect more signatures as a buffer against any challenges. The bottom line is that this process will be a lot more costly for him than the last time around.

Posted at 03:54 AM in General | Technorati


Nader paid for signatures in 2000 as well. Its virtually impossible to meet the goals in most states without the extra incentive. I know that it helped get Greens out of the house who otherwise would have been concerned about the time lost on other projects (like getting part-time jobs). And Nader had ample pro bono representation in 2000.

Now, I don't doubt that it will be tougher for Nader this time around but I'd be disappointed if he didn't have pro bono representation. Every time these ballot cases come up there is a potential for bad precedent and attorneys in this area know this so they will want Nader to be adequately presented whether they support his effort or not. Of course the flip side of that is Nader can afford good attorneys all on his own too. In either case its important that any legal review of ballot access efforts be handled fairly so as not to make ballot access too difficult for future candidates with popular support.

In any case I don't think Nader paying for signatures is any indication of what kind of pro bono representation he can get.

Did the Anderson veteran say if he paid for signatures? Its unusual not to. I worked on a Congressional Green Party campaign where we didn't pay and got on the ballot so I know how much work that is. If its not your money, its your time. And as they say, time is more valuable than money.

Posted by: seamus at June 16, 2004 10:08 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Nader won't have much of his own pro-bono legal support this time, but it matters less than you might think.

The paid signature gatherers were greatly helped by the Republicans -- the overwhelming majority of the signatures were from registered Republicans. Is there any reason to think that the RNC won't find some good lawyers to volunteer to help out Nader? They want Nader on the ballot and that would be a perfect behind-the-scenes way for them to help him.

Posted by: Eric in Detroit at June 16, 2004 10:21 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The preponderance of Republican signatures I think has more to do with Democrats refusing to sign than a grand conspiracy. I wouldn't be surprised if Republicans jumped at the chance to sign or to gather signatures (and make some minimal cash) either. If they did I think they are wasting their time. Nader will have virtually no effect in 2004 no matter how much we micro-analyze things.

Posted by: seamus at June 16, 2004 11:06 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Nader will continue to raise GOP money. Resources are not going to be a problem. Look at all the primary money Bush raised.

Posted by: steve at June 16, 2004 01:57 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I am a Democrat who will give a signature to Ralph Nader in the swing state of Pennsylvania. Why? As Ralph says, the Democrats are ignoring their own base. It is not enough to be an antiBush, the candidate must stand for something, and that something includes the earlier principles of the Democratic party.

Posted by: Ron at July 26, 2004 08:32 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

POLL: Democrats CAN win the House and Senate with NADER for A.G. by 11 points !
ALSO promising they will take J.E. Hoover's name off FBI Bldgs. -&-
wipe out the IRS tax code to a straight sales tax (no food or drugs)
Kerry: " If everybody who cares WILL go vote a DEM majority ! "

PLAY THE JUSTICE CARD - poll on these ? 'NADER as 'A.G.'--> Kerry's Trump Card !
- Respectfully the only sane Exit Strategy ~ perhaps to be announced after the election.
- Respectfully thus to delimit our domestic discord, divisions and loss of precious lives.

1) Pull back all USA forces to ONLY secure their entire energy production, pipeline, delivery
facilities infrastructure and ports, thus to operate along with any allied forces pursuant to U.N.
and international cooperation to be had, albeit our troops under total USA and British control.

2) Use ONLY highly paid Bonus combat volunteer$ USA troops, volunteer allied troops and
private contract security forces, all operating under USA and British control in accord with U.N.
and international agreements, to wit:

3) Provide the net/net Iraqi oil revenues to the legal constitutional presiding Iraqi government
(whom, what and howsoever duly constituted and in futuro) pursuant to a long term, i.e., 50 to
to 99 year oil production, security, lease contract, e.g., Guantanamo Naval Base, with the
present Iraqi government; all in cooperation with the U.N. operating under USA and British

4) Thus to more nearly guarantee our allies with stable petroleum supplies had in verifiable
cooperation with the more stable Arab and Islamic governments hopefully to portend some
greater peace being achieved in that region of the world forever ~ amen !
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Domestic programs for youth unemployment, education and drug rehab. program. to follow
Note: ~ Without contending for the legalization of drug use ~

Semper Fi-

David Mitchell Basker, J.D.
Attorney at Law | Washington, D.C.
PO Box 357426 Gainesville, Fl 32635

Posted by: David Mitchell Basker at October 21, 2004 07:22 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment