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Kennedy says he has secured ballot access in enough states to win. That’s not yet true

PHOENIX (AP) — Robert F. Kennedy Jr., claimed Friday that he’s qualified for the ballot in enough states to win the presidency as an independent candidate, but there’s a major caveat: at least 10 of the states have not certified his candidacy.

Kennedy is racing to secure a place on the ballot in states with at least 270 electoral votes, the minimum needed to become president, before a June 20 deadline to qualify for a CNN debate later this month.

Kennedy’s campaign said he submitted 3,300 signatures in Minnesota on Friday and listed the state among 19 states with 278 electoral votes where he claims ballot access. But by the campaign’s own admission, at least half of those states have not verified that his submission is valid.

CNN has signaled that it won’t count states where Kennedy has applied for ballot access but not been confirmed. Kennedy filed a Federal Election Commission complaint last month alleging the cable network is colluding with Democratic President Joe Biden and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump to exclude him from the debate.

Kennedy also has not met the debate’s requirement to get at least 15% in four reputable polls.

Biden and Trump agreed to the CNN debate and a second on Sept. 10 hosted by ABC, bypassing the nonpartisan commission that has organized debates for nearly four decades.

Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and prominent anti-vaccine activist, abandoned his Democratic primary challenge to Biden last year and began campaigning as an independent. Among the major obstacles he faces is an expensive and time-consuming requirement to secure ballot access state by state, which will require him to collect millions of signatures that must be verified by election officials before his candidacy is approved.

He’s built a loyal following among people disaffected by American institutions including the government, corporations and the media, an ideologically eclectic group that will have an unpredictable impact on the election. Biden and Trump both fear that Kennedy will draw voters who might otherwise vote for them.

Jonathan J. Cooper, The Associated Press


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