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Published: Wednesday, 8/18/2004

Nader camp in Ohio submitting 10,000 signatures for ballot


COLUMBUS - Supporters of independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader plan to submit 10,000 signatures today to try to get him on the Nov. 2 ballot in Ohio.

"Ralph wants to join forces and stop labeling ourselves and stop dividing ourselves," said Julie Coyle, a Toledo resident who is the Nader campaign's Ohio coordinator.

The requirement for Mr. Nader and other presidential candidates to get on the ballot as an independent is at least 5,000 signatures of registered voters.

The signatures will be sent to the various boards of elections for verification, said James Lee, a spokesman for the Secretary of State's office.

Dan Trevas, the Ohio Democratic Party's press secretary, said a "vote for Nader is a vote for George W. Bush."

In 2000, Mr. Nader, as the Green Party candidate, received 2.5 percent of the vote in Ohio, with Mr. Bush at 50 percent and 46.5 percent for Democratic Vice President Al Gore.

A poll published by The Columbus Dispatch on July 25 showed 47 percent support for Mr. Bush, 44 percent for Mr. Kerry, and 2 percent for Mr. Nader.

The Democratic Party plans to review the signatures that the Nader campaign submits today to the Secretary of State, but Mr. Trevas said the party does not have a goal of keeping Mr. Nader off the ballot. He noted that Ohio has a low threshold to get on the ballot, compared to other states, including Michigan, where Democrats have tried to keep Mr. Nader off the ballot.

The Ohio Democratic Party wants to know "where did the signatures come from and who are the circulators," Mr. Trevas said.

"If you do it the proper way, you get on the ballot,"he added.

Ms. Coyle said 125 people collected petition signatures for the Nader campaign in Ohio. She said they included veteran followers of the consumer advocate, young people who have been "energized by him," and Green Party members who also collected signatures for their presidential candidate, David Cobb.

Mr. Trevas said the Ohio Democratic Party will make the case that Mr. Kerry and running mate John Edwards, a U.S. senator from North Carolina, "best represent the ideals that those who voted for Nader in 2000 would want to see in the White House."

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