Third-party candidates to join Missouri ballot

Michael Peroutka and Ralph Nader file for the state presidential
race on the last possible day.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:46 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Political independent Ralph Nader and Michael A. Peroutka of the Constitution Party will be added to Missouri’s presidential race, according to their campaigns.

Vying for a spot on the ballot in the November elections, the two presidential candidates, along with three new parties and six independent candidates running for state representative, filed petitions and declarations of candidacy Monday. The secretary of state’s elections office was still receiving petitions minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline.

In the state of Missouri, candidates for presidential or statewide elections need 10,000 signatures from registered voters to be added to the ballot. For district or county offices, candidates need either 10,000 signatures from that county or district or 2 percent of voters who voted for the position in the last election, whichever number is less.

The Ralph Nader campaign turned in 14,903 signatures, beating their personal goal of 13,500, said Kevin Zeese, spokesman for the Nader campaign.

The signatures are now subject to verification, said Terri Durdaller, assistant communications director to Missouri Secretary of State Matt Blunt. The secretary of state’s office will send copies of the petitions to the election authorities in each county. The counties have approximately two weeks to verify the signatures and return them to the state, which then certifies them.

“(Certified results) are sent back to the county clerks by Aug. 24 in order to get them on the ballot in time,” Durdaller said.

Zeese said the Nader campaign had looked over the signatures before turning them in and expect more than 80 percent to be verified.

“It is very likely we will be on the ballot,” he said. “Ralph looks forward to campaigning (in Missouri) in the fall.”

Zeese said there are more than 10,000 signature collectors working for the Nader campaign nationwide. “Over 40 states due in the next few weeks — it’s a busy time,” he said.

The Nader campaign and Constitution Party made their quotas through the combination of hiring professional signature collectors and volunteers.

Donna Ivanovich, the ballot access coordinator for the Constitution Party, said there were at least four paid signature collectors in the state of Missouri. The Constitution Party is trying to regain its ballot access after they lost it in 2000 when they did not receive at least 2 percent of the vote, she said.

“We have more than enough signatures,” Ivanovich said. “We probably had over 100 signature collectors from around the state.”

Brent McMillan, the political director for the Green Party, said a decision was made in April by the Progressive Party of Missouri to not work toward ballot access for the presidential election. Missouri Progressive Party members report to the Green Party on a national level. The Progressive Party worked to ensure ballot access for state office candidates up to lieutenant governor.

Although McMillan is disappointed that Missouri Progressives chose not to run a presidential candidate, he looks forward to a successful election year with 400 candidates running nationally.

“We are continuing to show a strong rate of growth,” he said.

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