LAS VEGAS (CN) — Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein won’t be on the Nevada ballot, a federal judge decided.
The Nevada Green Party had a fair opportunity to collect signatures, it wasted too much time and came up short, U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey ruled on Sept. 1.
The party waited until less than two weeks before Nevada’s June 3 deadline to start collecting signatures for the 2016 ballot and fell 647 valid signatures short of the required 5,431, Dorsey found.
A minor political party has three ways to place a presidential candidate on Nevada’s general election ballot.
One is to have a candidate in the previous congressional election who obtained at least 1 percent of votes cast.
The second is to be the designated party of at least 1 percent of Nevada’s registered voters by Jan. 1 of the general election year.
The third is to file a Minor Political Party Ballot Access Petition with Nevada’s Secretary of State, with signatures of registered voters equal to at least 1 percent of votes cast in the state’s last congressional race, which this year is 5,431 signatures.
The Nevada Green Party pre-filed its petition form on March 14 but waited more than two months to start collecting signatures, Dorsey said.
It submitted 8,554 signatures, mostly from Clark County residents, but nearly 45 percent were rejected, leaving it 647 signatures short.
Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske notified the party of its deficiency on June 22, and the party appealed, claiming the shortfall was caused by problems with the verification system.
Cegavske reviewed the challenge, but concluded the Clark County Registrar of Voters properly conducted the review, and denied the challenge on Aug. 12. She also rejected an additional 1,000 signatures the party submitted.
Four days later, the party sued in Federal Court, demanding that Cegavske accept the additional 1,000 signatures. Its main argument was that the Secretary of State has the regulatory discretion to accept the additional signatures and submit them for verification, despite the missed deadline.
The party also claims the state’s verification process is unconstitutionally burdensome to minor political parties.
Dorsey disagreed, saying Nevada law clearly lists several “musts” that a minor political party must achieve to be on the general election ballot, and that “‘reasonably diligent candidates’ have often achieved — and thus can gain — a place on Nevada’s general-election ballot under Nevada’s minor political party ballot-access laws.”
“The plaintiffs have not demonstrated that they are entitled to this extraordinary relief,” Dorsey concluded.
The Nevada Green Party did not respond to an email enquiry for comment, but its website, checked Wednesday morning, still proclaimed it successfully submitted 8,277 signatures and is on the November ballot in Nevada.
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