Robert F. Kennedy Jr. campaign tops signatures needed for Indiana ballot

Robert Kennedy, Jr. speaks during his Independence Tour in Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky + Ohio.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks during a 2023 campaign event. (Credit: Team Kennedy)

Jul 09, 2024
Key Points
  • County election offices certified nearly 39,000 petition signatures as of Tuesday for Kennedy ballot placement of the required 36,943
  • Kennedy’s campaign faces July 15 deadline to submit enough petition signatures to the state Election Division
  • Trump campaign’s Indiana director not worried about Kennedy threatening Trump’s hold on Indiana’s electoral votes

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is another step closer to becoming the first independent presidential candidate on Indiana’s election ballot in over two decades.

County election officials have certified enough petition signatures from Kennedy’s presidential campaign for his name to appear on the November ballot.

The Kennedy campaign must still file the petitions with the state Election Division by July 15, but unofficial tallies submitted by county offices show the signatures of nearly 39,000 registered voters had been certified as of Tuesday morning.

State law requires at least 36,943 certified signatures for independent and minor-party candidates to qualify for the statewide ballot.

Kennedy’s campaign says it has met the requirements for his name to appear on the ballot in at least 27 other states, although not all have affirmed ballot placement. His campaign says it has an aggressive ballot access operation with a $15 million budget aimed at getting Kennedy on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 

Kennedy is seeking to join presumptive Democratic and Republican candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump, respectively, and Libertarian Chase Oliver on the Indiana presidential ballot. 

County officials had certified about 17,000 petition signatures from Green Party candidate Jill Stein, according to Tuesday’s report from the state Election Division.

The Kennedy campaign’s national media staff didn’t reply to messages from State Affairs seeking comment on its Indiana effort.

Carlin Yoder, a former state senator who is the Trump campaign’s state director, said he had no concerns about Kennedy threatening Trump’s hold on Indiana’s electoral votes.

“This is Trump country in Indiana — our polling numbers look outstanding, with or without RFK,” Yoder told State Affairs. “Trump is going to win and he’s going to win handily here, and it doesn’t really slow us down at all to have him on the ballot.”

State Election Division officials will count the Kennedy petition signatures to ensure there are enough, said Angela Nussmeyer, the division’s co-director.

Any registered voter or Republican or Democratic county chair could challenge whether the filing meets legal requirements by Aug. 23, which would lead to a state Election Commission hearing, Nussmeyer said.

Yoder said he doubted the Trump campaign would get involved with any effort to keep Kennedy off the Indiana ballot.

“We look at everything,” Yoder said. “We want to make sure everything is done fairly and aboveboard, but I have no reason at this point to question that.”

Kennedy would be the first independent candidate to make Indiana’s statewide ballot since Patrick Buchanan’s 2000 presidential campaign.

Libertarian Party candidates have automatically qualified for the Indiana ballot since 1994, with the party’s secretary of state nominee topping the state law requirement of 2% of the vote in that race every four years.

Tom Davies is a Statehouse reporter for State Affairs Pro Indiana. Reach him at [email protected] or on X at @TomDaviesIND.

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