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Nader charges Oregon Dems are using gangster tactics

AP reports: Accusations of dirty tricks are relatively rare in Oregon politics, but Ralph Nader's independent presidential candidacy has sparked charges and countercharges between his campaign and backers of Democratic nominee John Kerry.

Union officials who are supporting Kerry this week accused Nader's backers of engaging in widespread fraud and forgery in gathering signatures to place Nader on the Nov. 2 ballot in this battleground state.

Nader's supporters countered that Democrats and their union allies are resorting to ``gangster'' tactics by bullying and intimidating signature gatherers in hopes of thwarting Nader's petition drive. ...

A public employees union, the Service Employees International Union, has filed election complaints with the state saying it has heard from more than 30 people who say their names were falsified on Nader's petitions.

The union also has sent letters to nearly 60 of Nader's signature gatherers warning them that they could face a felony conviction and a prison term for knowingly submitting fraudulent signatures. -- Nader faithful, Democrats spar in Oregon (AP via The Register-Guard)