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Nader Wins Court Fight to Run in Florida
Sean Hayes reviews the decision to allow Nader ballot access in the key battleground state
Sean Hayes (internews)     Print Article 
Published 2004-09-17 13:59 (KST)   
A screenshot of Ralph Nader's ballot access as of Sept. 18
©2004 VoteNader
[Sept. 18, 11:30 a.m. KST]

The Florida Supreme Court overruled the lower courts decision, granting Nader ballot access in Florida. Five members of the court noted that "[a]ny doubt as to the meaning of statutory terms should be resolved broadly in favor of ballot access," the five-member majority concluded. A sixth justice concurred with the decision but on different grounds, while the seventh dissented.

The decision is considered by many a victory for the Bush campaign.

Ralph Nader, a liberal third party candidate for president, is being battled tooth and nail by John Kerry in courts across the nation.

Presently Nader is on the ballot in 25 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. He is fighting in state courts with the Democratic Party in 19 states and is definitely off the ballot in the remaining states mainly because of lost court battles and strict state ballot access rules.

Nader recently has been dealt a significant blow to his hopes of being on the ballot in the key battleground state of Florida.

In 2000, Nader received 97,000 votes in Florida in an election that came down to 537 votes. State Circuit Judge P. Kevin Davey, this past Wednesday, ordered Nader's name removed from the ballot. The state Democratic Party sued Nader and the State to remove his name from the ballot.

Judge Davey ruled that under state law the Reform Party, the party that nominated Nader, is not a legitimate state party. Shawn O'Hara, national chairman of the Reform Party USA, blasted the judge as "an incompetent and corrupt judge who has denied us due process of law." The chairman of the state Democratic Party, Scott Maddox praised the judgment "as a victory for Democrats and a victory for democracy."

Ralph Nader
To be on the ballot in Florida a candidate must either be from a "major political party," obtain signatures from 1 percent of the electorate by July 15th of the year of the election, or can be nominated by a national "minor party."

Nader chose to be nominated by the Reform Party. In order to satisfy the law the party must file with the Secretary of State a certificate containing the names of the nominees and the state "minor party" must file a petition containing recommendations of the electors. Additionally, the national party must have a nominating convention.

Democrats argued, and the court agreed, that the Party didn't follow state election laws requiring minor party candidates to have a nominating convention. Nader was nominated during a Reform Party conference call which was later formalized by a convention where only a few dozen of the 600 delegates attended. The case was appealed to the Florida Supreme Court a holding by the Court should be forthcoming within the next couple of weeks at the latest.
What will be the biggest issue(s) in the upcoming U.S. presidential election? (Choose up to 3)  (2004-09-01 ~ 2004-09-30)
Handling of Iraq
Homeland security
Tax cuts
Healthcare reform
Sean C. Hayes is a Research Officer for the Constitutional Court of Korea. He is certified to the New York and Connecticut Bars.
©2004 OhmyNews

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