Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s 15,000 Signatures for Ballot Access in Nevada Are Void Due to VP Requirement

AP Photo/Meg Kinnard

While Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is scheduled to announce his running mate on Tuesday, it appears not to have come soon enough for his bid for ballot access in Nevada. Despite reaching the goal of collecting 15,000 signatures from Nevada voters earlier this month, which is beyond the requirement needed to appear on November's ballot, the petition may have to start the signature-gathering effort from scratch. This is because Kennedy's petition in Nevada only listed himself, failing to include a running mate as required by Nevada's presidential candidate guidelines.


The Kennedy campaign seemed unaware of this requirement as it celebrated reaching its goal in Nevada, writing:

Independent Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. today announced the campaign has collected the necessary signatures to put “Bobby on the Ballot” in Nevada. 

The campaign has collected more than 15,000 signatures in Nevada. This places Kennedy on the ballot in one of the most closely contested swing states in the country, where the margin between Presidents Biden and Trump was just 2.39% in 2020. 

On March 7, just two days after Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced that his campaign had successfully gathered the required signatures, the Nevada Secretary of State's office issued a memo to all independent presidential candidates. The memo outlined the mandatory components of their filings with the office, stating candidates must submit "a declaration of candidacy and a petition of candidacy, in which the person must also designate a nominee for Vice President."

The Nevada Secretary of State's office confirmed that according to Nevada's presidential candidate guide, petitions from independent candidates must feature the names of both the presidential and vice presidential candidates to be considered valid, and the office produced documents showing that Kennedy only named himself on the petition. 


The setback means the campaign must collect new signatures after naming Kennedy's running mate on Tuesday. Although this delays Kennedy's goal of securing ballot access in all 50 states, there is still time to rectify the situation before Nevada's filing deadline on August 7. So far, Utah is the only state that has confirmed Kennedy's placement on the ballot. Each state has different rules for independent candidates, making ballot access challenging for candidates outside major parties.

In December, the super PAC American Values 2024 pledged to spend $10 million to $15 million to assist Kennedy by collecting signatures for ballot access. In February, the Democratic National Committee filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accusing Kennedy's independent presidential campaign and American Values 2024 of illegal collusion on ballot access issues. Subsequently, American Values 2024 announced that it would cease signature collection activities on Kennedy's behalf in states such as Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, and South Carolina after meeting the required signature thresholds.

The PAC said it would redirect its efforts in a press release earlier this month, writing,

Given the campaign's success, we are no longer collecting signatures in any additional states, and will continue to fight the [Democratic National Committee] or [Republican National Committee] when they try to interfere with the constitutional right of American voters who overwhelmingly want independent candidates on the ballot.


The Kennedy campaign said it had not yet submitted the signatures to the Secretary of State's office in Nevada.


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