Will you see the name of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on your general election ballot in Pennsylvania?

That has yet to be determined.

The third-party challenger to President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump is now officially on the ballot in three states, according to The Hill – Michigan, Oklahoma, and Utah. The campaign just submitted 245,000 signatures in the state of Texas and says it has completed signature gathering in ten other states – California, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Ohio – the paperwork has not been completed with those states.

Yes, there are still months remaining to complete the task. And the reasons for not turning in the signature petitions are valid.

The campaign says it’s trying to evade legal battles by picking the right time to hand in the petitions, holding onto the signatures until the 11th hour in hopes that the signatures will face fewer challenges.

In Pennsylvania, candidates are required to submit a minimum of 5,000 signatures from registered voters to qualify for the state’s presidential ballot.

Other swing states have more stringent requirements to make the ballot – North Carolina (83,188), Michigan (12,000), Nevada (10,095), Georgia (7,500), while Arizona requires three percent of registered voters. Only Wisconsin has a lesser standard, asking for 2,000 signatures for independent candidates.

The Kennedy campaign says it is aiming to collect 60 percent over the threshold, which means it is targeting 8,000 signatures in the Keystone State.

Collecting signatures is an expensive process. American Values 2024, the super PAC that supports RFK Jr., estimates it will cost around $40-50 million just to collect all the necessary signatures. The PAC raised $43 million in the first quarter of 2024 and had $17 million on hand entering Q2.

However difficult securing the signatures may be, the battle over them is the real fight.

Earlier this year, the Democratic National Committee formed a team to challenge third-party and independent presidential candidates. The effort will depend on other groups like Third Way, MoveOn, and a new super PAC, Clear Choice, backed by allies of President Biden.

“Only two candidates have a path to 270 electoral votes — President Biden and Donald Trump,” said DNC spokesperson Matt Corridoni. “The stakes are high and we know this is going to be a close election. That’s why a vote for any third-party candidate is a vote for Donald Trump.”

Over the last 60 years. only George Wallace in 1968 and Ross Perot in 1992 were able to secure access on all 50 states’ ballots as third-party candidates. Ralph Nader was only able to gain access to 43 of the 50 states in 2000.

In a recent poll from the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and Siena College, Trump held a three-point advantage over Biden (47-44 percent) that is within the margin of error in a two-person race. When Kennedy is added as an option, Trump’s lead grows to 40-36 with RFK Jr. polling at 10 percent.

Steve Ulrich is the managing editor of PoliticsPA.

This article was originally published in PoliticsPA.

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