Nader Loses Illinois Ballot Appeal

A federal judge refused Monday to block the Illinois State Board of Elections' decision to keep Ralph Nader (search) off the November ballot.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly rejected the Nader campaign's request for an injunction against the elections board, which voted Thursday not to certify the independent presidential candidate for the ballot. The board determined that Nader fell nearly 5,000 signatures short of the 25,000 petitions necessary.

The Nader campaign, anticipating the ruling, filed a federal complaint against the board July 27, claiming the method it uses to verify signatures violated the constitutional rights of Nader supporters. The complaint said more than 5,000 signatures were thrown out because petitioners were not registered at the address listed with their signature, even though most are registered Illinois voters.

The complaint also claims the state's June 21 deadline for independent candidates to submit petitions, which is earlier than 47 other states, is unconstitutional.

Kennelly wrote in his opinion Monday that the address requirement is a legitimate way to verify that petitioners are indeed registered voters. He also ruled that Nader's campaign had enough time to gather signatures.

Nader's campaign says it would appeal, as well as sue in state court to get Nader on the ballot.