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RFK Jr. campaign accuses Nevada secretary of state of engaging in a ‘desperate attempt to invalidate’ ballot access signatures

FILE - Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. speaks during a campaign event, Oct. 9, 2023, in Philadelphia. Kennedy Jr. plans to announce his running mate at an event in Oakland, Calif. on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, as he races to secure a place on the ballot for his independent campaign for president. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

At issue is RFK Jr.’s failure to name a vice presidential candidate on ballot access petitions his campaign has been circulating in the Silver State.

Nevada law – since 1993 – requires that independent candidates “designate a nominee for Vice President” when collecting signatures for ballot access in presidential elections.

The apparent mistake could force the campaign to start from scratch in its bid to collect more than 10,000 signatures so Kennedy Jr. can appear on state ballots in November.

“This is the epitome of corruption,” Kennedy campaign ballot access attorney Paul Rossi said in a statement, arguing that they indeed followed the law.

“After successfully collecting all of the signatures we need in Nevada, the DNC Goon Squad and their lackeys in the Nevada Secretary of State’s office are outright inventing a new requirement for the petition with zero legal basis,” he added. “The Nevada statute does not require the VP on the petition. The petition does not even have a field for a VP on it.”

Rossi contends that “the state confirmed that the petition does not require a VP in writing on Nov. 14.”

“The state approved our petition without a VP on it in writing on Jan. 9,” he added.

In his statement, Rossi included a link to an email from an employee in Aguilar’s office responding,” No,” when asked by the campaign if a VP needed to be named on the petitions.

The Nevada Secretary of State’s Office acknowledges that the RFK Jr. campaign was given incorrect information by the employee, but notes that the candidate is still expected to abide by state law.

“Earlier today it was brought to the attention of our office that a Secretary of State employee had provided inaccurate guidance to an independent presidential campaign,” the office said in a statement to CBS News. “This was an error, and will be handled appropriately.”

“In no way was the initial error or subsequent statutory guidance made with intent to benefit or harm any political party or candidate for office.”

“When a government agency communicates with a member of the public and gives an unclear or incorrect answer to a question, Nevada courts have been clear that the agency is not permitted to honor the employee’s statements if following those statement[s] would be in conflict with the law,” the office said.

Kennedy Jr.’s campaign is threatening legal action against the Nevada secretary of state over the potential invalidation of the ballot access signatures.

“When a government agency communicates with a member of the public and gives an unclear or incorrect answer to a question, Nevada courts have been clear that the agency is not permitted to honor the employee’s statements if following those statement[s] would be in conflict with the law,” the office said.

“This assault on the democratic rights of millions of Americans in Nevada, and their freedom to vote for an independent candidate, embodies the corruption and depravity that has come to characterize the Democratic Party,” Rossi said.

“This is the party that rigged the primary election against Bernie Sanders in 2016 and RFK Jr. in 2024. This is the party that canceled its own primary elections in multiple states this year and decreed Biden the winner without a vote,” he added. “The DNC is spending millions of dollars in a frantic attempt to keep Kennedy off the ballot because they cannot defeat us in a fair election. They cannot face us in a contest of ideas. These are the death throes of a party that once stood for working people but has long since abandoned them to Wall Street, Big Pharma, Big Tech, and the endless war machine. The Democratic Party is the biggest threat to democracy in this country.”

RFK Jr.’s campaign demanded that any attempt to invalidate the signatures be “enjoined by a federal judge” and said it plans to “depose” Aguilar “to find out exactly which White House or DNC official concocted this scheme.”

Kennedy Jr. plans to name his running mate on Tuesday.

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