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The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to put independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader on the ballot in the battleground state of Ohio. On Friday, Nader asked the high court to review Ohio’s decision to remove him, arguing that a state law that requires people who collect signatures on candidates’ petitions be registered voters violated free speech rights. Nader’s request for a review went to Justice John Paul Stevens, who referred the matter to the full court. The justices denied the request without comment Tuesday. Democrats, fearful that Nader could cost them votes if his name is on the ballot, had presented evidence to Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell that petition collectors registered at fraudulent addresses or places they didn’t live. Blackwell ordered Nader’s name off the ballot after a hearing officer concluded there was evidence of fraud. Nader appealed that ruling to a federal judge, who earlier this month upheld Blackwell’s decision. Nader, running as a Green Party candidate in 2000, received about 2.5 percent of the vote in Ohio. President Bush won by 3.6 percent. On Saturday, the Supreme Court denied a similar emergency request by Nader to be placed on the ballot in the battleground state of Pennsylvania. Overall, Nader will be on the ballot in 34 states and the District of Columbia. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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