Ross Perot’s Reform Party, consumer advocate Ralph Nader and an assortment of minor party and independent candidates have qualified for Washington state’s White House ballot.
Voters will have at least a half-dozen alternatives to the main event of Democrat Bill Clinton versus Republican Bob Dole.
“The two major parties have to realize that many of us are not really happy with them,” Reform Party spokeswoman Yvonne Conway said Friday. “You can’t really tell one from the other and all we get is negative, negative, negative. We are fed up!”
Grass-roots democracy is an easy proposition in Washington: It only takes 200 voter signatures to earn a ballot position to face the state’s three million registered voters.
The state elections division announced Friday that these candidates have submitted enough voter signatures from nominating conventions held last weekend:
Reform Party. Meeting at 14 locales, Perot’s party gathered 1,249 signatures. Perot and California populist James Campbell were listed as presidential and vice presidential candidate, respectively, but the petitions also noted that the ticket may change.
The party holds a nominating convention in Long Beach, Calif., on Aug. 11, amid speculation that former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm may step forward and be the standard-bearer, Conway said.
Olympia lawyer Shawn Newman was nominated for lieutenant governor on the party ticket.
Ralph Nader. The longtime consumer activist from Connecticut is running as an independent. His running mate is Anne Goeke of Pennsylvania. Backers submitted 661 signatures.
Workers World. An all-female ticket, Monica Gail Moorehead of New Jersey and Gloria LaRiva of California will be on the ballot on this minor party ticket. Backers turned in 385 names.
U.S. Taxpayers. Howard Phillips of Virginia and Albion Knight Jr. of Maryland are back again on the Taxpayers’ ticket. They polled about 2,400 votes here in 1992. This time around, backers turned in 300 signatures to qualify.
Charles Collins. The Florida independent is running on a ticket with Rosemary Giumarra of California. Backers submitted 260 voter signatures.
The Natural Law Party also is expected to qualify again, with the same ticket that won 2,456 votes in Washington in 1992, John Hagelin and Mike Tompkins, both associated with Maharishi University of Management in Iowa. Tompkins was scheduled to address a nominating convention at Seattle’s Green Lake park near the Bathhouse Theatre on Saturday.
This weekend is the deadline for minor parties or independents to hold nominating conventions. Candidates have a week after that to submit signatures to the secretary of state.
In 1992, Washington voters could vote for any of 11 tickets for the White House. Clinton carried the state with 43 percent. President Bush had 32 percent and Perot had one of his best showings anywhere with 24 percent.
Conway said regardless of whether Perot is the nominee, the Reform Party will be a strong vehicle for disaffected voters.
“The Reform Party is going to give us the option of being a real swing vote,” she said. “It should be a wonderful tool for the voters to make some changes that are good for the country and not just the big special interests.”