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THE RACE TO THE WHITE HOUSE

Florida's High Court to Rule on Nader's Ballot Status

Court will decide later this week whether the candidate will be allowed on the ballot.

September 16, 2004|From Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Ralph Nader can stay on Florida's ballot, at least until the end of the week when the state Supreme Court will make a final decision on his attempt to run for president as the Reform Party nominee.

The high court's decision Wednesday came about an hour after Circuit Judge P. Kevin Davey ordered that Nader be removed from the November ballot because the Reform Party wasn't a legitimate party under state law.

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments on the issue Friday, and said it would settle the controversy before a Saturday deadline for mailing absentee ballots overseas.

"We're on the ballot, just not going anywhere," said Theresa Amato, Nader's campaign manager.

Democrats have sued to keep Nader off the ballot, arguing the Reform Party is no longer a legitimate national party and that Florida election laws requiring minor candidates to qualify by petition or through a nominating convention weren't followed.

The lawsuit is part of a national effort by Democrats to keep Nader off ballots in states where he could siphon votes from Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry.

Shawn O'Hara, national chairman of the Reform Party USA, blasted Davey's decision, calling him "an incompetent and corrupt judge who has denied us due process of law."

Florida Secretary of State Glenda E. Hood, who was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother, said she was opposing the Democrats' lawsuit "as an honest broker" to protect the state elections process.

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