PHOENIX — Ralph Nader is lamenting the complicated and costly roadblocks that he says discourage independent and third-party candidates from getting on the ballot.
“This is a struggle that we’re entering into now in the next few weeks in Arizona,” Nader, who is running as an independent, said in a telephone call to The Arizona Republic. “I would say that there are only 12 states more stringent.”
Nader, a longtime consumer-safety advocate, is making his fourth full-fledged bid for the White House, this time as an independent. He is aiming to raise $50,000 to fund his Arizona petition-gathering effort.
Nader called ballot access a civil-rights issue and compared onerous state statutes to racist Jim Crow laws. He specifically criticized an Arizona requirement that petition circulators be qualified to register to vote in the state, meaning he can’t bring in volunteers from surrounding states to help.
“Candidate rights just have never reached the level of public or judicial attention that voter rights have,” Nader said. “There are plenty of problems with voter obstruction and all that, of course, but at least it’s on the front burner.”