RICHMOND, Va. – Independent Ralph Nader (search) will not appear on Virginia's presidential ballot, the State Board of Elections said Tuesday.
Nader fell short of the required 10,000 certified signatures on his qualifying petitions, said Jean Jensen, secretary of the board. "He needed 10,000 and we were able to verify 7,342," Jensen said.
Nader had submitted about 12,900 signatures, and officials checked them against local voter lists.
"We'll review those ourselves — the ones they've knocked off — and see if they are accurate," said Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese. "But if they're not registered voters, they're not registered voters."
Nader has met requirements to appear on ballots in 20 states, Zeese said, including nine actively contested by President Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry.
The Constitution Party and Libertarian Party candidates did qualify in Virginia, and will join Bush and Kerry on November's ballot, Jensen said.
On the advice of the state attorney general's office, Jensen initially declined to accept Nader's petitions, which weren't grouped according to congressional districts as board guidelines dictate. Three days later, Attorney General Jerry Kilgore ordered Jensen to accept the petitions because the requirement had never been adopted by the elections board.
With Democrats nationally concerned that Nader will dilute the vote for Kerry, and Republicans working to get Nader onto ballots, Kilgore's reversal evoked claims of partisan politics. Jensen is a former executive director of the state Democratic Party, and Kilgore is chairman of Bush's 2004 re-election campaign in Virginia.