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Why RFK Jr. might not be on Nevada’s ballot

Updated March 26, 2024 - 8:58 am

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s petition could be invalid in Nevada because it did not list a running mate.

Kennedy’s campaign had announced in early March it collected enough signatures to be placed on the November ballot in Nevada.

State law, however, requires independent presidential candidates to also list their vice presidential pick, whom the environmental lawyer is expected to announce on Tuesday.

On March 7, the secretary of state’s office sent a memo to all independent candidates regarding the requirements to file in Nevada, including the law specific to independent presidential candidates requiring that they submit their declaration of candidacy and a petition of candidacy that includes the vice presidential nominee.

After a petition collects the required 10,095 signatures, it must be submitted to the county clerks or county registrars for signature verification no later than July 5, so RFK Jr.’s campaign does still have time to collect enough signatures for a new petition that includes his vice president, if it chooses to do so.

“This assault on the democratic rights of millions of Americans in Nevada, and their freedom to vote for an independent candidate, embodies the corruption and depravity that has come to characterize the Democratic Party,” Kennedy campaign ballot access attorney Paul Rossi said in a statement.

Kennedy’s campaign provided a screenshot of a November 2023 email from an employee in the secretary of state’s office who had incorrectly said it was not necessary to include the vice presidential nominee in the petition.

“Earlier today it was brought to the attention of our office that a Secretary of State employee had provided inaccurate guidance to an independent presidential campaign,” the secretary of state’s office said in a statement Monday evening. “This was an error, and will be handled appropriately. In no way was the initial error or subsequent statutory guidance made with intent to benefit or harm any political party or candidate for office.”

The office also said that when a government agency communicates with a member of the public and gives an incorrect answer to a question, courts in Nevada have ruled that the agency is not permitted to honor the employee’s statement if following that statement would conflict with the law.

Kennedy’s campaign made accusations that the secretary of state employee’s error was part of a larger scheme from Democrats to keep him off of ballots across the country.

Rossi said in the statement Nevada’s statute does not require the VP on the petition, and that the petition does not have a field for a vice president on it. The campaign shared another email from January showing the office approved the petition and said it could begin collecting signatures.

It plans to depose the secretary of state in federal court, the campaign said in the statement Monday.

Randell Hynes, Nevada coordinator for the Kennedy campaign, has “no doubt” that Kennedy will appear on the state’s ballot in November.

“We’ve done everything right,” Hynes said. “I think we’re good.”

Independent Presidential Candidate Letter VFINAL (1) by Jessica Hill on Scribd

Kennedy NOI by Jessica Hill on Scribd

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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