Here Come the Third Parties: Gaining Access to the Presidential Ballot

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Here Come the Third Parties: Gaining Access to the Presidential Ballot

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Third party presidential candidates are successfully fighting through obstacles to gain ballot access in the great majority of states. Three third party candidates are on three-dozen or more state ballots, with candidates from two other minor parties also winning access in a dozen or more states. Because Ralph Nader's 2000 campaign lured voters from Al Gore who normally support Democratic candidates, most attention has focused on the implication of Nader's access for the Democratic nominee, John Kerry. Although Nader continues to pose a threat to Kerry, the Libertarian and Constitution Party candidates are on more state ballots than is Nader and may draw votes from the Republican Party nominee, President George W. Bush. The clearest threat to Bush may be in half a dozen critical races where Nader failed to gain ballot access but the Libertarian and Constitution candidates did (including major battleground states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Missouri).

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Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

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Jacobs, Lawrence; Ostermeier, Eric J.. (2004). Here Come the Third Parties: Gaining Access to the Presidential Ballot. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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