In his campaign gatherings, at Kansas City, Missouri,
Reworded: The individual known as Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
He is not only campaigning for the presidency, but also requesting that voters add his name to the ballot in their respective states. This is a difficult obstacle that independent candidates must overcome.
During a recent event in Kansas City, Missouri, Kennedy appealed to approximately 300 voters for assistance. In order to be included on the presidential ballot for the 2024 general election, independent candidates in the state must gather 10,000 signatures by July 29.
Kennedy asked for assistance. In this state, both Democrats and Republicans can be on the ballot without paying. I need to earn it through hard work.
The guidelines for being included on the ballot as a candidate who is not affiliated with the Democratic or Republican party differ greatly depending on the state. The initial deadlines for North Carolina and Utah are in early March. Utah initially required independent candidates to submit their paperwork by January 8, 2024, but recently changed the deadline to March 5, shortly after a lawsuit was filed by Kennedy against the state.
Kennedy estimated last week that he would need approximately one million signatures and would have to navigate various rules and requirements in order to be on the ballot in all states and the District of Columbia. While some states only require a few thousand signatures, others intentionally make the process extremely challenging by requiring notarized signatures from every county within a short timeframe. However, Kennedy stated that he has a large group of volunteers, approximately 250,000, who will assist him. His campaign clarified to CBS News that the actual number of volunteers is closer to 45,000.
According to him, if volunteers did not assist, the cost of collecting signatures would be around $15 per signature. As a result, ballot access would typically require a budget of $15 million just for the signatures.
Kennedy’s campaign for ballot access will be largely funded by American Values 2024, a super PAC backing him. This group has pledged to invest $10-15 million to secure his placement on the ballots of 10 states, such as Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, New York, and Texas. The super PAC stated that a portion of this funding will go towards hiring a team of lawyers to assist with navigating the regulations and criteria.
Stefanie Spear, press secretary for Kennedy, shared with CBS News her confidence in his chances of securing ballot access.
“We have started gathering signatures in all of the states that are currently open and we are confident that Mr. Kennedy will be able to secure the necessary 270 electoral votes to become the next President. However, it’s important to note that in certain states, there is a specific time frame in which signatures must be collected.”
She stated that they were creating their schedule and believed they could successfully gather signatures in all 50 states and comply with each state’s guidelines to get him on every ballot.
The state of Utah has extended its deadline for collecting 1,000 signatures from January 8 to March 5. This change came after Kennedy filed a lawsuit last week, claiming that the original date was overly restrictive and violated the Constitution.
“We may have to engage in legal disputes outside of the country, but we are prepared to do so,” he responded to a question from CBS News.
Jacob Halphin, a 25-year-old college student, attended a rally on Wednesday and signed a petition for Kennedy to be on the Missouri ballot. He expressed openness to considering an independent candidate.
Halphin stated to CBS News that they are open to anyone, but would prefer not to have Biden or Trump, although Kennedy is not out of the question.
According to Halphin, if someone is putting in a lot of effort and causing a significant impact, they should be included on the ballot.
Kennedy’s in-person appeal to voters in Missouri underscores the state’s potential openness to independent candidates. The state has backed Republicans for the presidency in every election for decades — except in 1992 and 1996 — the years that Perot ran. Bill Clinton won in both of those years. Perot received 22% of the vote in Missouri in 1992, and George H.W. Bush won 34% — the worst performance for a Republican in the state since 1860.
According to Elizabeth Vonnahme, a political science professor at the University of Missouri, there is a desire for something other than Trump and Biden.
According to Vonnahme, Kansas City is advantageous because it can attract individuals from both the Missouri and Kansas sides who may feel alienated by both the Democratic and Republican parties. There is a considerable population of people who are open to attending a rally and considering an independent presidential candidate.
Patrick Marsh, who traveled from Kansas to attend Kennedy’s rally, states that the campaign to collect signatures has not yet started in his state. However, he is willing to sign the petition to get Kennedy on the ballot in Kansas.
Marsh said he hopes Kennedy will be included on the ballot and believes he will succeed in achieving it. He also stated that he will only vote for Kennedy and is not considering any other candidates.