Independent Nader seeks place on Nevada ballot

CARSON CITY — Supporters of independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader announced Thursday they have collected more than 12,000 signatures, double the amount needed to put their candidate’s name on Nevada’s November ballot.

Regional coordinator Dutch Merrick maintained Nader will not draw voters away from presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and give the election to Republican John McCain, but will receive support from new and frustrated voters of both parties.

“People are frustrated and looking for a candidate to voice their concerns instead of corporate interests,” he said.

Merrick referred to the Republican and Democrat candidates as “Republicrats,” who have few major differences.

He added that a Los Angeles Times poll nationally found that in a four-candidate election McCain would be hurt more than Obama.

Merrick acknowledged under that scenario Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr would be the fourth presidential candidate.

Barr is not yet on the ballot in Nevada, according to Deputy Secretary of State Matt Griffin.

A Barr campaign representative, contacted by phone, said he thought Barr already had qualified for the ballot in Nevada.

Third party candidates have until next month to submit petitions to qualify for the ballot, Griffin said.

Whether Nader has actually qualified for the Nevada ballot won’t be known for several weeks.

His team turned in signatures Thursday to voting registrars across the state. The signatures now must be recounted and verified. Secretary of State Ross Miller then will make an announcement on whether Nader has qualified.

Merrick said it is important that Nader be part of the presidential election because Obama and McCain have started to ignore core issues — the war in Iraq and health care — that are most important to voters.

Nader would bring troops home within six months after becoming president, according to Merrick, and establish a single-payer health care system similar to Medicare.

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