North Carolina Declines to Certify RFK Jr.’s Place on Ballot

The North Carolina Board of Elections voted along party lines last Wednesday to delay its decision to allow two political organizations to officially become state parties so that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West can appear on the ballot as their nominees in November’s presidential election.

The Justice for All party and the We the People Party collected signatures on behalf of West and Kennedy respectively that would allow them to be designated official political parties in North Carolina.

Petitions for party designations require a fraction of the valid signatures that are needed to appear as an independent candidate on the ballot.

Election officials in North Carolina confirmed to the Board of Elections in the June 26 meeting that both organizations submitted far more than the 13,865 valid signatures required.

Based on that, the two Republican elections board members supported the motions to formally recognize both groups as official state parties that could field candidates in the November election.

However, the three Democrat board members voted to delay the board’s decision, arguing that more examination of the organizations’ operations was needed, such as what information was included on the petition lists, how the signatures were gathered, and how volunteers presented the goals of the petitions to registered voters.

Democrat member Siobhan O’Duffy Millen said she was concerned that the We the People Party volunteers may have misrepresented Kennedy as an independent instead of a candidate who could become the We the People Party’s nominee.

Rather than the 13,865 signatures needed for the petition, an independent candidate must obtain at least 83,188 valid signatures from registered voters.

Board of Elections Chairman Alan Hirsch, a Democrat, told representatives from the We the People Party who attended the over 3-hour meeting that the delay was not intended to prevent the party from gaining official status.

Hirsch explained that the delay was to ensure that the Board of Elections did its job and that those who signed the petition were aware of its “purpose and intent.”

The board tentatively scheduled a follow-up meeting on July 9 to consider the two organizations’ requests.