Judge denies ballot access to Green Party candidate

A federal judge on Thursday denied Green Party candidate Jill Stein access to the Nevada ballot in November.

U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey said in a ruling that the Green Party waited until less than two weeks before the deadline to start collecting signatures to qualify to place candidates on Nevada’s 2016 ballot, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

In recent months, the Nevada Green Party had been actively petitioning to get Stein on the ballot.

The Green Party initially collected about 8,600 signatures, but Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske threw out 3,861 of them in June, leaving the party short of the minimum requirement.

The party then filed a subsequent appeal to have 3,000 signatures recounted and also gathered 1,200 additional signatures. The appeal and the additional signatures were also rejected by Cegavske.

After Cegavske rejected the Nevada Green Party’s appeal to recount the rejected signatures and the additional 1,200 rejected signatures that the party collected to meet the minimum requirement, the party filed a complaint arguing that the signature submission deadline for ballot access should be extended and that the additional signatures that the party collected after the deadline should be accepted.

Green Party Southern Nevada Co-chair Kim Borghese issued a statement following the decision.

“We respectfully but strenuously disagree with Judge Dorsey’s decision,” Borghese said in a written statement. “It is a step backwards for everyone who believes in freedom of choice and an electoral system that works in the best interests of all voting Nevadans. Rather than appeal this decision, we are focusing our energy on continued voter registration, providing citizens the opportunity to align with a party that truly represents their interests.”

Nevadans deserve access to a wider choice of candidates, Borghese added.

Thomas Rasmussen, member of Nye Greens, a Nye County satellite of the Nevada Green Party, said he is disappointed with the judge’s ruling and added that it does “a disservice” to voters by limiting their options.

“I will be marking ‘none of these candidates’ for president this election. But, Stein or no Stein, this ruling doesn’t stop me from getting out there and helping people register with the Green Party, which I will still be doing at Pahrump’s Fall Festival,” Rasmussen said.

During last week’s hearing, Tony Nasser, the Nevada Green Party’s attorney, argued that the deadlines for submission of the signatures are arbitrary.

The push to put Stein on the ballot in Nevada happened amid Green Party’s movement to put its candidate on the ballot in all 50 states.

Stein is on the ballot in 42 states and Washington, D.C.

Currently on Nevada ballot are Republican Party candidate Donald Trump, Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and Independent American Party candidate Darrell Castle.

Nevada doesn’t have a write-in rule.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com