Court Orders Nader Off Oregon Ballot

Ralph Nader (search) will not appear on Oregon's general election ballot, the state Supreme Court said Wednesday, overturning a lower court decision.

The high court unanimously upheld a ruling by Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, who determined that flawed petitions sheets left Nader 218 signatures short of the 15,306 needed to put him on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Marion County Judge Paul Lipscomb faulted Bradbury, a Democrat, for using unwritten rules to decide the validity of the petitions. The high court, however, said Bradbury acted within his authority.

Nader's campaign said it would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Oregon Supreme Court decision was the latest, and perhaps last, action in a long struggle by Nader to get on the ballot in the state where he drew 5 percent of the vote as the Green Party nominee in 2000.

Recent polls indicate that fewer than 2 percent of Oregon voters support Nader this year.

Nader backers accused Bradbury, a Kerry supporter, of acting from partisanship and using trivial concerns to keep Nader off the ballot. They said Democrats fear Nader could draw votes from Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, as many Democrats believe he did in the 2000 campaign against former Vice President Al Gore.

Nader is on the ballot in more in more than 30 states and is suing for ballot access in several others.