RFK Jr.’s VP pick comes amid a big, difficult ballot access push

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is group to denote his moving mate this period arsenic he wages a long-shot independent bid for president. And nan timing is nary mishap — his determination is group to travel arsenic he needs a moving mate to suffice for nan ballot successful a mostly of states, pinch immoderate of their filing deadlines coming up soon. 

Kennedy is attempting to suffice for nan ballot successful each 50 states, and astatine slightest 26 of them require him to record his information papers pinch a moving mate named, according to an NBC News study of authorities ballot entree requirements. 

Qualifying for each state’s ballot is simply a daunting endeavor that could costs millions of dollars and requires gathering much than 900,000 signatures nationwide. 

The run has estimated nan effort could costs $15 million. Kennedy’s run had conscionable complete $4.8 cardinal successful its relationship astatine nan extremity of January, according to a fundraising study revenge pinch nan Federal Election Commission. Meanwhile, ballot entree deadlines are besides accelerated approaching. They person already passed successful North Carolina, Utah and Idaho.  

Kennedy’s run has said it has gathered capable signatures to suffice for nan ballot successful Utah, arsenic good arsenic New Hampshire, Nevada and Hawaii. The run is starting to stitchery signatures successful Texas, arsenic well. 

The pro-Kennedy ace PAC American Values 2024 announced this week that it would extremity collecting signatures connected Kennedy’s behalf but said it had collected much than capable to spot him connected nan ballot successful Arizona, Michigan, Georgia and South Carolina. However, immoderate petition signatures usually get invalidated erstwhile they are turned successful and checked by predetermination officials, which is why campaigns and different groups often effort to stitchery much than nan minimum.

There’s different twist: Although nan filing deadline for independent candidates has passed successful North Carolina, Kennedy’s supporters location are taking a different way to nan ballot. In North Carolina and 5 different states — Hawaii, California, Delaware, Mississippi and Texas — his supporters person formed their ain governmental parties. 

That path, which is besides nan measurement No Labels is trying to get its statesmanlike summons connected nan ballot nationwide, requires less signatures successful immoderate states than nan regular campaigner petition-gathering Kennedy is doing elsewhere. In North Carolina, for example, an independent statesmanlike campaigner would person had to cod much than 83,000 signatures by March 5 to qualify.

But a caller governmental statement must cod only astir 13,000 petition signatures by early June. 

Still, Kennedy’s run faces a sprint. By August, much than 21 states’ deadlines will person passed, pinch 24 further states imposing deadlines passim that month. 

The processes alteration by states, and immoderate require filing fees successful summation to petition signatures. But nan period to suffice for nan ballot is somewhat little successful a fistful of nan astir important plaything states, wherever Kennedy could person nan astir effect connected a adjacent statesmanlike race.

In Wisconsin, 1 of nan closest states successful 2020, an independent statesmanlike campaigner needs only 2,000 petition signatures to suffice for nan ballot — conscionable a mini fraction of nan much than 3.4 cardinal voters successful nan state. 

And independent statesmanlike candidates request to cod conscionable 7,500 signatures successful Georgia and 5,000 successful Pennsylvania, 2 much states that were decided by adjacent margins successful 2020.

Bridget Bowman

Bridget Bowman is simply a lawman editor for NBC's Political Unit.

Katherine Koretski

Katherine Koretski is a 2024 NBC News campaign embed.

Alexandra Marquez

Alexandra Marquez is simply a authorities newsman for NBC News.

Jack Pedigo


Charlene Richards