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Media Advisory / Hearing Scheduled for Ralph Nader N.C. Ballot Access Case

July 25, 2000

For Immediate Release
July 25, 2000

Contact Information:
Scott Schell, 212 998–6318

Media Advisory: Hearing Scheduled For Ralph Nader N.C. Ballot Access Case

What: A hearing in Nader v. Bartlett, a federal district court case challenging theconstitutionality of North Carolina’s ballot access laws as they affect new or minor political parties.

Who: Senior Attorney Glenn Moramarco and Staff Attorney Elizabeth Daniel of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law are lead counsel.

Before Judge W. Earl Britt of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
Federal Courthouse, courtroom 2
Raleigh, N.C.

When: Monday, July 31, 9:30 a.m.

At Issue: The Brennan Center is asking the court to order the North Carolina Board of Elections to place the Green Party’s Presidential candidate Ralph Nader on the North Carolina ballot for the November 2000 general election. North Carolina’s ballot access rules for Presidential candidates are among the most restrictive in the nation. As stated in the Center’s brief, “…the defendants simply cannot justify the high hurdles that have been imposed on minor party candidates.”

Background: Ralph Nader is currently the highest polling third party or independent candidate for President in this election cycle and has a name recognition factor of 91 percent with the American people. With the national media’s political attention now shifting focus from Bush and Gore to candidates like Nader and Buchanan, the Presidential campaign season for third- party and independent candidates is just beginning. However, as far as North Carolina is concerned, the season for qualifying for the ballot is already over. Under North Carolina law, Nader had until June 15, 2000 to collect 51,324 signatures and have the signatures verified by the local Elections Boards. In order to yield 50,000 some valid signatures, a successful petition drive must aim to collect approximately 85,000 raw signatures, since not all collected signatures will be valid. Relying largely on volunteer signature gatherers as opposed to paid professionals, Nader was unable to meet the tight deadline imposed by the North Carolina Board of Elections.

Recognizing the unfair and unconstitutional burden North Carolina’s ballot access rules place on new or minor political parties, the Brennan Center for Justice filed suit on May 15, 2000 to secure Nader a place on the North Carolina ballot.

Click here to download the brief.