9/27/2004

Putting Nader on State Ballots is True Democracy

The Reform Institute - a nonpartisan election reform organization whose Honorary Chair is Senator John McCain (R-AZ) - today urged that states allow Reform Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader on the November Presidential ballot.

Within the last 48 hours, courts in New Mexico, Arkansas, and Oregon yielded a mixed bag for Mr. Nader. In Oregon and New Mexico, he was removed from the ballot, while the court in Arkansas ordered officials to stop printing ballots that do not include Mr. Nader. All three decisions are pending further court review next week. The rollercoaster ride continues in Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where administrative agencies or courts are likely to rule on Nader’s place on the November ballot.

In numerous states, Ralph Nader's party qualifications and/or voter signatures are being challenged in a nationwide effort to keep him off the November ballot, or at least force him to spend substantial amounts of money and campaign time defending against these legal attacks.

"I believe it would be a mistake to let a set of inequitable ballot rules keep a legitimate presidential candidate off the ballot," McCain said. "These obstacles discourage public participation in elections by denying voters the right to vote for their preferred candidate. Keeping Nader off the ballot in the hope that his voters will be forced to support another candidate is patently unfair to those Americans who, for whatever reason, have decided he's their man."

Senator McCain said "I would take this position if the candidate was seen as a threat by Republicans rather than Democrats. There is no good justification for keeping candidates who have demonstrated genuine levels of public support off of the ballot just because their candidacy does not suit one or both of the major parties. Other democracies do perfectly well with numerous candidates on their Presidential or party ballots-we can too. It is simply unfair to allow one or both of the major parties to serve as gatekeepers and prevent voters from having a wider choice of candidates."

The Reform Institute works to increase citizen participation in democracy by lowering the substantial barriers that often stand in the way. Chief among those barriers are state ballot requirements that discourage participation by Independents and minor party candidates, thereby limiting voter choice. The Institute has a history of nonpartisan efforts to increase voter participation and access by minor party candidates.

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