April 30, 2002

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Norio Kushi, Natural Law Party candidate for U.S. Senate and founder of the Movement for Democratic Change in North Carolina, is challenging North Carolina ballot access laws with a lawsuit against the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

“In Tennessee, an independent candidate for U.S. Senate needs 25 signatures to get on the ballot,” Norio said. “North Carolina requires 100,000 signatures. This is not a mistake. It’s the result of a conspiracy.

“The North Carolina Constitution guarantees that ‘all elections shall be free.’ That’s the law. But in practice, it’s easier for an independent candidate to get on the ballot in most of the former Soviet Union than it is in North Carolina. The two monopoly parties in North Carolina rig the ballots to keep almost everybody else off.”

North Carolina Violates Voting Rights Treaty

Many Americans believe election rigging only happens in poorer countries, such as Zimbabwe. But according to Norio, it’s happening in North Carolina too.

In 1992, the United States ratified a UN treaty on political and election rights. A treaty signed by the U.S. government is supposed to be superior to state law, yet current North Carolina election laws consistently violate the terms of the treaty. These laws succeeded in keeping even Ralph Nader off the North Carolina ballot in 2000.

Norio explained that North Carolina voters get the illusion of choice, since they are usually free to vote for any candidate they want – except that the only candidates available are either Democrats or Republicans.

“These are not ‘free’ elections,” Norio said. “It’s like going into a restaurant and the waitress telling you, ‘You can have whatever you want to drink, as long as it’s Pepsi or Coke.’ The subtle differences between the two are very meaningful to cola drinkers, but for somebody like me who prefers green tea, I don’t even consider that a choice.”

Lawsuit Being Prepared

To challenge these ballot access laws, Norio is preparing a lawsuit against the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News and the country’s leading expert on ballot access, stated, “I avidly support this case. This is a much better case than Ralph Nader had in 2000. All the precedents are in Norio’s favor.”

Norio commented, “It’s because of being able to stand on the shoulders of people like Ralph Nader that we have a good chance of winning this time. I am very grateful for his sacrifice. I am also very grateful for Richard Winger’s help. We could not be doing this without him.”

How You Can Help

Overturning unfair election laws will do more than end ballot restrictions in North Carolina this year. A successful lawsuit will make it easier for NLP candidates to get their message out in future years. And because this case is federal, the ramifications are national.

Please support Norio’s efforts in every way you can. For information on how you can help, or to contribute to Norio’s campaign for U.S. Senate, please visit


Thank you in advance for your support.