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Kennedy announces ballot access in...

Kennedy announces ballot access in Mississippi; Secretary of State says not yet

By: Frank Corder - June 19, 2024

(Photo from the Kennedy Campaign website)

  • The Independent presidential candidate is creating a new political party to bypass signature requirements in various states, including Mississippi. Yet, necessary paperwork has not been filed in the Magnolia State.

Supporters of Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. have formed a new political party – or they at least have started the process – to help get him on the ballot in multiple states, including Mississippi.

The “We the People” Party seeks to reduce the number of signatures required for Kennedy to appear on statewide ballots or do away with the requirement altogether.

According to Kennedy’s campaign, the new political party will be able to gain ballot access without collecting any signatures or party registrations in Mississippi.

On Monday, the Kennedy campaign announced that the “We the People” Party was “officially on the ballot in Mississippi” and that the party will nominate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. for its nominee for president and Nicole Shanahan for its nominee for vice president later this month.

However, after contacting the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office, it appears the new political party has failed to file the necessary paperwork to thus far get the Kennedy-Shanahan ticket on the Magnolia State’s November ballot. The new party has until September 6th to file all qualifying documents and fees if the presidential ticket wants to appear on the general election ballot.

The Secretary of State’s office said late Tuesday that the “We the People” party has not filed all required documents to be registered as a political party in Mississippi and therefore does not have ballot access, despite what the Kennedy campaign announced.

“We The People party filed initial paperwork (party bylaws) on January 16, 2024, to begin the registration process. Once a State executive committee has been selected at least 90 days after submission of the bylaws, the State executive committee must file additional paperwork to register the political party. We have not received this paperwork,” the Secretary of State’s office outlined. “Even if the We The People party was properly registered and the party had ballot access in Mississippi, we have not received any of the proper qualifying paperwork for the Kennedy-Shanahan ticket to appear on the ballot.”

Direct messages sent to those identified in Kennedy’s Monday release as the We The People Mississippi Chair (Melisha Dooley) and Mississippi State Director (Leon Giafaglione) received no response as of press time.

Dooley was quoted in the Kennedy announcement as saying, “We look forward to nominating Kennedy and helping get him elected as the next President of the United States… We need a leader who will protect what matters most — our children. He’s the breath of fresh air that Mississippi desperately needs.”

Kennedy’s campaign is attempting to create this new party in multiple states, namely Hawaii, North Carolina and Oregon. A separate effort has been underway in Texas to establish a “Texas Independent Party.”

Yet, as the Secretary of State’s office notes, there are procedures in place to register as a new political party in Mississippi and to gain proper access to the statewide ballot. Those include:

  • Filing an application for registration and disclosing the names of all organizations officially sanctioned by the political party;
  • Filing an affidavit of the chairperson of the political party seeking registration containing:
    • The names and offices of all state executive committee members, including specifically the names of those designated as chairperson and secretary,
    • The names and offices of all national committee members,
    • The names of the officers of the party, and
    • A statement setting forth the executive committee and other officers of the party were selected in accordance with the provisions of Miss. Code Ann. Section 23-15-1053, or any laws supplementary or amendatory thereto; and
  • Filing a copy of the party’s organizational documents.

The Mississippi Secretary of State says that information has been communicated with “We the People” representatives on multiple occasions.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: