Ralph Nader Fails to Qualify for Oregon Ballot (updated 9/2)

Kenji Sugahara

ralphnaderThis just in, and breaking on BlueOregon.com first... Ralph Nader has failed to qualify for the Oregon ballot, falling short by 218 signatures

The decision to invalidate a large number of petition sheets, made by Secretary of State Bill Bradbury on the advice of the state Elections Division, is based on many "irregularities" on the petition sheets that go "above and beyond" the question of fraudulent and forged signatures - according to our sources. As a result, the Nader campaign has only 15,088 certified signatures - just short of the 15,306 required for ballot access.

We will update here as news breaks.

Update: 9.2.04
Buried in the SEIU press release about the Nader story, were these two useful nuggets. The first answers the question, "who cares about numbering the petition sheets?"

Oregon law requires that the Chief Petitioner submit signature sheets directly and numbered for review to the counties and then again to the Secretary of State. This requirement is no mere technicality, as it ironically, is the only way a campaign can protect itself from fraud and sabotage. The Nader campaign was aware of this requirement, as it attempted to number many of these sheets after they were reviewed by the counties, itself a misdemeanor offense of altering public documents under Oregon law. By statute, the Secretary of State has no discretion but to reject these sheets.
Included in the group of disqualified sheets were those circulated by State Representative Jeff Kropf (R-Sublimity).

Elsewhere
This week, Nader has also failed to get on the ballot in Pennsylvania and Texas. He did, however, secure ballot access in Florida, Connecticut and Nevada. The AP has a complete roundup.

Oregon Background
Over the last several weeks, serious questions had been raised about the Nader petitions. At least one dead person (and we've heard, many more) supposedly signed the petition. The SEIU forgery investigation found that only about a third of the signatures were valid.

Here at BlueOregon, we first broke the news of the SEIU forgery investigation and had an exclusive look at the actual Nader signature sheets in question.

Also, the Nader camp has denied cooperating with Republicans in the effort, though a signature collector in Medford, Oregon told KTVL that he was paid by the Republican National Committee.

Comments

  • bill deiz (unverified)
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    Of course we can anticipate a court challenge by Nader--after all, isn't he an attorney? But let's hope that it's Kerry v Bush with no Nader on the Oregon ballot this November.

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    Bradbury cited the numbering of petitions as the largest problem (see the SEIU release previously mentioned). Thanks are due to super-smart Margaret Olney and other folks for making sure election laws are followed.

    Of course, the Nader campaign argues it's the littlest technicality and has promised to challenge the decision. And yes, Greg Kafoury is an attorney. As such, he knows that the slightest deviance from the law (i.e. technicality) can mean the difference between success and failure.

  • John P Slevin (unverified)
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    Yeah, super smart that Olney...going out at night and threatening people who engage in the process (legally).

    What is "above and beyond" forgery, as far as petitions are concerned?

    When the Marion county signatures were not released (some never were released) until literally minutes before they had to be turned over to the Secretary of State, the result was that the pages could not be numbered...That's the story. Bradbury and the flunkies he's hired need incarceration, but that's my dream. Throwing them all out of work will have to do.

    See you in court.

    Does anyone writing articles about this subject, on this site, have the integrity to tell the story about Ballot Project Inc? How many here are dupes, shills what have you for that bogus, illegally funded group?

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    I'm glad to see this posted--I heard about it this afternoon, but couldn't get to a computer. Two things spring to mind: 1) obviously, it's not the ultimate ruling (penultimate, possibly), so we've got a little distance yet to run in this race; 2) does this appear like a refutation to the SEIU folk--who argued that the legitimacy rate was very low? Seems like it might.

    In any case, VERY interesting news...

  • John P Slevin (unverified)
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    Jeff,

    SEIU invented that crap. Here on BlueOregon it's been touted...the charges, by SEIU, never had substance. Bradbury's goons now fall back on saying some of the sheets weren't numbered, as they could not be when Bradbury's goons didn't release them from Marion county in time for them to be numbered...

    In Virginia, Nader petition delivery people met-up with a roadblock (yes, cars blocking their way---these weren't cops or other officials, these were thugs). Nader people there ran that roadblock, smashing three stupid Democrat cars in the process and DELIVERED the signatures. Sound like democracy in action? Sound like this Kerry idiot knows now what our nations' veterans have fought to protect? Or, does it sound like Kerry and friends are thugs?

  • Spine (unverified)
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    "Stupid Democrat cars"?

  • John P Slevin (unverified)
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    Yeah, "stupid Democrat cars" are easy to spot...they have Kerry stickers and the drivers are usually oafish looking.

  • Jonathan (unverified)
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    John Slevin: Are you as insane as Kafoury? Nader = Bush, no matter how many times you and others pretend something else is true. The Green Party has done the right thing by focusing energy on electing grassroots candidates and giving up on the arrogant, self-important, irrelevant Ralph Nader. The few good things he did decades ago have been effectively obliterated by the last four years, which were substantially caused by his involvement. Why could you, or Nader, want the same result?

  • Pliny (unverified)
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    I should really know better than to feed trolls, but on the off chance that you're actually sincere John let's try reason...

    Perhaps a history lesson is in order here.

    Picture it - the year 2000.

    Gore won the popular election, Bush carried the electoral college. Democrats went into mourning. In the midst of thier despair, they laid the blame at Nader's door. Nader responded with the simple truth, "Gore beat Gore."

    Fast forward to the present. We're facing a hotly contested election. We again have a situation where the Democratic canidate can/will not take strong positions to seperate himself from Bush.

    Looking back at the example of 2000, resonable people can accept that Gore's loss was not Nader's fault. That said, he didn't exactly help either. Add to this the fact that Republicans (maybe not out local ones, but certainly some on the national level) have entered the fray in an attempt to place Nader on the ballot to try to chisel percentage points.

    Did you really expect the Dems to sit still?

    More than that, let me apply a different viewpoint to your claims.

    Bradbury's goons didn't release them from Marion county in time for them to be numbered

    Um... Nader's campaign let this all come down to the last day. They knew they were cutting things short. Acvcording to the Oregon Blue Book, our population in 2002 was 3,504,700 (estimated) The Nader campaign needed 15,306 for ballot access.

    He's had seven months since he offically entered the campaign. If all it took was a "roadblock" in Virginia, and Marion County dragging thier feet for a few hours to deny your hero ballot access... I humbly submit that maybe - just maybe! He doesn't have the support of the people!

    You say democratic dirty tricks beat Nader.

    I say Nader beat Nader.

  • John P Slevin (unverified)
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    Name me one ballot access effort with which you have been involved? Do you vote? Can you read?

    Your comments on population are idiotic, even for a Green/Democrat/Pacific whatever...voters are what matters, not population you ninny.

    The law specifies who gets on the ballot, not Bradbury, and that applies, in a just Oregon, Bradbury and his thugs or no.

    Marion county DID NOT RELEASE THE SIGNATURES...THEY SAT ON THEM. MARION COUNTY"S ELECTION OFFICE IS RUN BY GOONS! Also, go there, check it out. Like MOST government offices, they don't actually do much. Relaxing work, lots of time for idle chatter and not any pressure, unless an unfriendly gets elected and the incompetents there lose their jobs.

    You say a roadblock ain't nothing. Goon tactics in the streets are necessary for people who cannot fend for themselves in honest society, and so must have goons to get them their perks, like guvment jobs.

    Nader, consistently, has correctly said that Gore WON in 2000! Nader did not cost him the election.

    Who but a magnificently incompetent person would want someone as the Democrat nominee who "can/will not take strong positions" against Bush?

    Nader has a 40 year history. Nader stands for what he believes and it hasn't changed in those 40 years, and for all of those years he's been a national figure.

    Only idiots fall for the argument that Nader is somehow a front for Bush, whom, at every chance, Nader calls a "warmonger".

    What government post do you hold?

  • Mark (unverified)
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    if nader = bush how can bush be on the ballot but not nader?

  • Mark (unverified)
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    and further does badnarik = kerry? i'm confused.

  • John P Slevin (unverified)
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    badnarik=liberty...and there's no room on this ballot for that Lady.

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    Two items:

    <h1>1. Slevin writes, "Does anyone writing articles about this subject, on this site, have the integrity to tell the story about Ballot Project Inc? How many here are dupes, shills what have you for that bogus, illegally funded group?"</h1>

    Actually, no, I've never heard of Ballot Project Inc. Care to enlighten us? FYI, the Center for Public Integrity reports that they've spent $9000 through July 15. Doesn't sound like a big effort to me.

    <h1>2. There have been some folks that have suggested that Bradbury "and his goons" are just out to help Democrats. That is demonstrably false. For example, under Oregon law as of 2002, George Bush would also not have qualified for the ballot -- the nominating convention this year is past the old deadline by a week. If Bradbury were a "goon" he would have simply neglected to mention that to anyone, and DQ'd Bush too. Instead, he contacted the Oregon GOP leadership, let them know, and the last Legislature passed a bill changing the deadline. Sounds like a solid, upstanding election official to me.</h1>
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    When Nader gives back the Republican money and petition-gathering help and even tries to get on the ballot in his own right, then I'll shed a microtear that he didn't get on the ballot in Oregon. But for now, and until then, he's just a formerly-progressive sellout running a Presidential campaign to boost his already-supersized ego. The guy can't even handle a five-minute interview on Air America - how does he expect to deal with Congress?

    When any Republican initiative (and this is one) loses, we all win. I therefore raise my caffeinated beverage in toast to Bill Bradbury for everything he did (legally) to thwart yet another Republican attempt at election sabotage.

    'Bout time we grew a pair.

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)
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    Why am I not surprised?

    This SoS throws out valid signatures for sport.

    Kerry would win this state anyway, now, the D's and their union hack ballot gargoyle can breathe easier focus on other targets.

  • John P Slevin (unverified)
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    Kari,

    You could only be a government worker...

    you, stupidly, wrote (and I'll take your churlish and childishly uninformed positions apart, one at a time, you idiot):

    "Two items:

    <h1>1. Slevin writes, "Does anyone writing articles about this subject, on this site, have the integrity to tell the story about Ballot Project Inc? How many here are dupes, shills what have you for that bogus, illegally funded group?"</h1>

    Actually, no, I've never heard of Ballot Project Inc. Care to enlighten us? FYI, the Center for Public Integrity reports that they've spent $9000 through July 15. Doesn't sound like a big effort to me.

    <h1>2. There have been some folks that have suggested that Bradbury "and his goons" are just out to help Democrats. That is demonstrably false. For example, under Oregon law as of 2002, George Bush would also not have qualified for the ballot -- the nominating convention this year is past the old deadline by a week. If Bradbury were a "goon" he would have simply neglected to mention that to anyone, and DQ'd Bush too. Instead, he contacted the Oregon GOP leadership, let them know, and the last Legislature passed a bill changing the deadline. Sounds like a solid, upstanding election official to me."</h1>

    First, you obvious liar, how can you know how much they spent if you had not heard of them?

    Second, they ARE NOT SUBJECT TO REPORTING LAWS BECAUSE NO ONE CAN TELL WHAT THEY ARE---people like you, the slime on which they slide, only allow the flaw in our republic to become worse, you shit!

    And what in the hell does a flack like you know about solid and upstanding? Name me something, anything in your handout life which indicates you have substance! One thing, Kari! You shit!

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    Bwaaahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

  • In the Closet (unverified)
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    The real shame about this is not that Nader (who built his reputation fighting big corporate power then accepted help from Republicans, who are working to expand big corporate power) didn't make the ballot, but that petition signers continue to be disenfranchised over petty rules. If a circulator doesn't sign a petition, does that mean the signatures are fake? No. If a petition isn't numbered, does that mean the signatures are fake? No. But when these technicalities allow good signatures to be discarded, those people are disenfranchised. They can't even go and sign a properly formatted petition again because they already signed one, so because of a petitioner's error they are blocked from expressing their view. The initiative process is being abused in order to manipulate the political process. Doesn't anyone out there have the integrity to fix the process so it works? It's like campaign finance reform efforts. They're all crafted with intentional loopholes so special interests can continue to operate under the radar. It's sickening, and those who defend this manipulation of the democratic process should be ashamed.

  • Erin H (unverified)
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    If a circulator doesn't sign a petition, does that mean the signatures are fake? No. If a petition isn't numbered, does that mean the signatures are fake?

    No, but it does mean that circulators should take a minute, after painstakingly collecting those five signatures, to check their Ps and Qs. You can see a petition sheet right here. After the petition is filled, the petitioner needs a legible, valid name, date, address, and signature. The campaign needs to number the petition sheets. It's ain't that complicated, people.

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    John P. Slevin is an out of state libertarian hack. He works for term limits laws and other libertarian causes.

    If he was an Oregonian he would know (and frankly I'm surprised no one pointed this out) that Marion County is a Republican stronghold, that all three county commissioners in Marion County are Republicans, that Republican elected officials distributed the Nader petitions, and that the Marion County officials had an interest in HELPING Nader, not hurting his efforts.

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    In the Closet,

    Your comments were really naive. Nader's campaign director is a lawyer. That means he's trained in how to read the law. The rules for preparing petitions are published, and available for all who want to see them. The rules about numbering and signing petitions are in effect for all ballot measures as well.

    Dozens of other campaigns have read, understood and abided by those laws. It is inexcusable that the Nader people did not as well. And as was stated above, Nader himself is a lawyer and built his reputation on using procedural rules to get his way.

    But I guess that the rules just shouldn't apply to him.

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    Slevin, while obviously off his meds, ranted thusly:

    First, you obvious liar, how can you know how much they spent if you had not heard of them?

    Behold the power of the Intar-web:

    Google search on 'Ballot Project Inc.'

    Anyone with a net connection can do this; i.e., if you can post your hysterical diatribes on BlueOregon, Slevin, you can Google something you'd only just heard of.

    As my platoon sergeant used to say:

    IT DON'T TAKE NO GED!

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    Mr. Slevin...

    This will be my final post responding directly to you. Clearly, you're way outta your league here.

    First, you suggest that I "could only be a government worker." Nope, sorry, I own my own business and am a political consultant. I've never worked in government.

    Second, calling me an "obvious liar", you ask "how can you know how much they spent if you had not heard of them?" Um, Google? First result. I never heard of 'em until you mentioned 'em, and THEN I Google'd 'em.

    Third, you ask me to "name me something, anything in your handout life which indicates you have substance." Maybe you could check out my bio.

    Your world must be an interesting place.

  • Pliny (unverified)
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    This has been just priceless. I want to thank Mr. Slevin for reminding me of the old days on USENET.

    And of course, for reminding us that Libertarianism Makes You Stupid.

  • In the Closet (unverified)
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    Rorovitz -

    I beg to differ, and believe you are the one who is naive here. The Nader campaign doesn't matter one whit to me. What matters is that we have seen the same issues come up over and over again in campaigns across the board, and enforcement is escalating. Look at how the average percentage of valid signatures on petition drives has declined over the past ten years. In part this is due to forgery issues, but primarily it is because of pressure by political opponents of certain ballot measures seeking to use ultra-strict rule enforcement to defeat measures before they qualify for the ballot. I don't blame them for trying, but in the process individuals exercising their democratic rights are being denied their voice, and that is wrong. Petitioning may have been taken over of late by experienced groups, but in many cases petition drives are conducted by ordinary people whose knowledge of the rules and the process is not particularly sophisticated.

    My point is simply that we need to take a look at the process so that ordinary people, whether seeking to place a measure/candidate/recall on the ballot or signing a petition they believe in, are not disenfranchised. Unfortunately, political interests from all directions are working for a variety of reasons to make sure that does not happen.

  • brett (unverified)
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    A proud day for the Democrats.

  • Mike D (unverified)
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    Well if Nader's not on the ballot...I guess the democrats have left me only one choice: BUSH!

    Nice try Bradbury.

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    In the Closet wrote:

    My point is simply that we need to take a look at the process so that ordinary people, whether seeking to place a measure/candidate/recall on the ballot or signing a petition they believe in, are not disenfranchised. Unfortunately, political interests from all directions are working for a variety of reasons to make sure that does not happen.

    Uh, no. You have it backwards.

    Those rules are in place to protect the exercise of your right to sign a petition as a registered voter and have it counted, not take it away.

    Inherent in that right are protection from having your name forged and used on other petitions you did not sign. They're also there for protection to so that your signature will count exactly for what it should, in relation both to those eligible to sign, and those who aren't (like, because they're dead): once, per measure or candidate being petitioned for.

    The sheets need to be numbered by the campaign at large because that's the only way the Elections boards can process duplicates, forgeries, etc.

    Remember, the same guy whose tactics necessitated this strict interpretation is also somewhat responsible for the fact that counties in Oregon usually can't pay for a more efficient way to do this w/o the sequential numbering, so campaigns have to allow for that kind of time to validate the signatures.

    To have it both ways (messy organization AND lightning-fast counting) is unfair to all of us.

  • In the Closet (unverified)
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    John -

    Numbering petitions doesn't keep petitions from containing forgeries. Signing the bottom of petitions doesn't keep petitions from containing forgeries. Remember Kelli Highley? Her petitions were numbered and signed - and Multnomah County didn't catch that they were forgeries (that's right - elections officials are not experts at catching forgeries). Hers were not the only ones for which that was the case. So sorry, the rules aren't stopping forgeries, and they're not stopping people from trying to get away with placing dead people's names on petitions or signing multiple times.

    And I certainly was not suggesting that people should sign a petition more than one time - I was saying that if the sheet they validly signed was thrown out because the circulator forgot to sign the bottom or the campaign failed to number the sheet, that person cannot sign another copy of the petition without violating the law. Therefore, enforcement of the current rules (which demonstrably DO NOT stop petitioner abuse) by throwing out entire sheets of signatures is most certainly disenfranchising people who have a right to register their opinions in support of the petition.

    I am also not suggesting that there should be no rules. Fining chief petitioners for improperly filled out forms would be a far better option, for example. It would increase their desire properly oversee turn-ins to ensure they conform with the rules, and it would raise some money for the Elections Division (perhaps helping to make up for the budget-cutting "tactics" of that "guy" you mentioned), and protect the rights of those who legitimately signed the petition. And as I see it, the only way someone could argue against protecting the rights of those who legitimately sign a petition is if deep down you don't like the initiative process anyway and would prefer to use any means necessary to render it ineffective.

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    Closet makes a good point about fining the chief petitioner and not the individual signature gatherer. I think the current rules are, if taken together, an effort to protect Oregon from fraud and that the sequential numbering rules should not be taken out of that context.

    At the same time, the practices of the chief petitioner do quite a bit to stop fraud and cut down on invalid signatures. For instance, the vote by mail petition did a very good job of having a very high validity rate, and I think the current supporters of M. 36 also did a good job in validity despite the really disgusting content.

    Nader engaged in what's probably the best way to encourage fraud, which is paying by the signature. Of course, we all should remember that the Nader campaign used a technicality to avoid paying by the hour, as qualifying petitions aren't held to the same standard as ballot measures.

    And where did Slevin go? I'd just love to see what he has to say next. Maybe he's sending nasty e-mails to Kari's clients. Impressive list BTW.

  • Randy (unverified)
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    On one hand -- I suppose it is overly harsh to discount otherwise valid signatures because the sheets weren't numbered, but come on .... the guy's campaign is so poorly planned he (a) waits to the last minute to try and collect enough signatures and doesn't plan any time for organizing and numbering them before submitting them and (b) hires people who cannot even be trained to sign their names at the bottoms of the pages. If his performance in this effort to get on the ballot is any indication, one wonders how a President Nader would do with oh, say, some slight detail like POST WAR PLANNING or other job of a President.

    And the citizen's loss of their signature because the gatherers screwed up? Well, that's the risk you take when you choose to support someone who is so disorganized.

    Those who argue for "bending the rules" a bit probably bought into Bush's slick shift of the reasons for Iraq after no WMDs were found. Oops... we really have good intentions here, let us slide a bit.

    The initiative process skewers left-leaning campaigns as well as right-leaning campaigns. And the legislature remains available to change those laws if needed. The law is the same for everyone who wants to play the game -- whether you're a local property rights fanatic or an OTH consumer advocate.

    As a previous poster suggested -- it don't take a GED to get it right.

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    Just a couple things.

    It was the Nader campaign's responsibility to follow the rules, and they did a disservice to the people of Oregon and particularly to the people who signed their petition by not following the rules.

    It is the Secretary of State's responsibility to make sure anybody's campaign knows what the rules are. We did this with Nader - they have the Manual (which is in very simple English and is quite easy to understand and is online or available free at the Elections Division) and we answered every question they asked in order to explain the rules and give them advice on how to proceed (for example, we told them to turn signatures in early because there are often problems that can be fixed - they chose not to follow that advice).

    The SoS cannot and should not conduct the petition drive for the campaign, there's only so much hand holding we can do. And we can hardly be held responsible for Kafoury's inability to maintain control over his people.

    At the end of the day, the law is clear and Bradbury had no choice but to uphold the law.

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)
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    "At the end of the day, the law is clear and Bradbury had no choice but to uphold the law."

    Right.

    Suddenly your cushy job doesn't look so secure for the next four years.

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    Of course, today a Salem judge ruled that Nader should be allowed on the ballot.

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