Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Following Ralph Nader's ballot status in Virginia is not unlike staring at windshield wipers: he's on, he's off. He's on, he's off. He's on, he's off. He's on, he's off. He's on, he's -- well, you get the idea. (The experience is almost as hypnotic as watching the president's service records cycle in and out of existence every few weeks. Spooky!) As of yesterday, Mr. Nader was off again, for a not altogether surprising reason. Under Virginia law, ballot petitions can only be circulated by residents of the state. Yet thousands of the signatures submitted in support of Nader's candidacy were collected by "residents" whose home address later turned out to be a hotel or a motel:
Jean R. Jensen, secretary of the State Board of Elections, said Tuesday that registrars across the state had verified 7,342 signatures for Nader, well short of the required 10,000. Candidates for the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party collected the required number of signatures and will appear on the ballot, Jensen said.Note that, while our friends at the Washington Post do not hesitate to raise the spectre of Democratic trickery, they mysteriously neglect to mention the fact -- well-documented here, here, here, here, and elsewhere -- that Republicans are organizing and funding Nader ballot drives in several states, and that the "allegations of fraud" they mention are often, to be more specific, allegations of Republican-sponsored fraud.
Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese vowed a review of the signatures that were rejected in Virginia, saying the campaign would "check and see if they got it right, and if they didn't, we'll sue them."
Democrats nationwide have worked openly to keep Nader off the presidential ballot in the belief that he would siphon votes from their party's nominee, Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry.
Questions about the validity of signatures and allegations of fraud have prompted challenges in Michigan, Maine, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Iowa and Oregon . . . .
In Virginia, collecting signatures for a petition without being a registered voter in the state, or intending to become one, is a felony punishable by as much as 10 years in prison and a fine of as much as $2,500.
Jensen said the board's rejection of Nader's petitions had nothing to do with the collectors. Instead, the board focused on the people who signed the documents. She said nearly half of the 13,000 signatures submitted by Nader's campaign "were either residents of Virginia but not registered to vote, residents of other states or totally illegible."
Jensen, a former executive director of the state Democratic Party, said she was not aware that many of the petitions turned in by Nader's campaign were circulated by people who listed hotels and motels as their addresses. "If anyone who circulated petitions, if anything inappropriate was done, yes, that would invalidate every signature on the petition," she said.