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Nader off the Pennsylvania ballot

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports: A Commonwealth Court today ruled that Ralph Nader does not have enough valid signatures to be on the ballot in Pennsylvania, but the legal fight will continue - leaving election officials here worried about running out of time to get ready for the Nov. 2 election.

President Judge James Gardner Colins said that only 18,818 of the 51,273 voter signatures that Nader submitted to get on the ballot were valid - and that his petition was "the most deceitful and fraudulent exercise ever perpetrated on this court." That left Nader 6,879 signatures short of the 25,697 signatures required by law.

The Nader campaign said even before the decision was handed down that it planned to appeal an adverse ruling to the state Supreme Court. That could delay a final determination on Nader's status for a few days, a week - or more.

Officials in each of the state's 67 counties have been wrestling for weeks with how to handle absentee ballots, which have to go out early. The Pennsylvania Department of State had urged counties to hold off on mailing them before the court ruling yesterday. But many counties, including Philadelphia and others in the region, opted to mail them anyway - reasoning that voters needed as much time as possible to send them back by the Oct. 29 deadline. -- Court drops Ralph Nader from Pennsylvania ballot (philly.com)