Consumer activist Ralph Nader easily qualified for the Nevada ballot last week after submitting 11,888 signatures on a ballot access petition. Five thousand are required, but candidates normally try to submit many more than needed because Nevada’s high population turnover usually invalidates a high percentage of signatures.

Although Nevada Democratic leader Sen. Harry Reid told KUNR on July 7 that Al Gore lost the state “by the Nader margin” in 2000, Gore actually lost it on his own. If Gore had gotten every single Nader vote, he would still have been 6,589 votes down. It was not a close election in Nevada. Bush won easily by 3.55 percent, a comfortable margin in politics.

This year, however, it could be different. In a Wall Street Journal survey of 512 voters last month, Nader drew the support of 4 percent of Nevadans, with George Bush in the lead at 47 percent and John Kerry at 45 percent. That poll did not have a lot of detail, but in a June 18, 2000, survey for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nader had unusually high negatives among Nevadans—22 percent regarded him favorably, 21 unfavorably.

Nevada Democrats—or their agents—have until Aug. 24 to file a court challenge to Nader’s Nevada ballot status. On June 23, Arizona Democrats challenged Nader’s ballot status there, which drew a threat from Nader to stop campaigning across the board and instead concentrate on swing states. On Friday, Nader wrote to Kerry asking him to disavow what Nader described as a pattern of harassment designed to block ballot access.

Nader wrote, “When we last talked, I indicated to you that your Party underlings are maliciously trying to keep the Nader-Camejo Campaign off the ballot…The Nader-Camejo Campaign is particularly concerned about the actions of the Democratic Party to limit the voters’ choices.”

Nader cited specific actions in Oregon and Illinois and called on Kerry to halt such party activities.

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...