AUGUSTA (AP) – Political activists opposed to Ralph Nader’s independent presidential candidacy Monday challenged the consumer advocate’s appearance on Maine’s Nov. 2 ballot.

The political committee filed its complaint with the secretary of state’s office, which last week certified 4,128 voter signatures for Nader, or 128 more than the minimum needed for ballot listing.

The secretary of state must hold a hearing on the complaint within a week, setting the stage for a decision that can be appealed to the courts.

Michael Saxl, a former Democratic House speaker working with, said the complaint focuses on a number of legal issues.

“We have eight or nine major points of contention and we’re just trying to be sure we put forward those where we’ll have the greatest likelihood of success,” said Saxl.

Issues range from whether petition signers were properly registered to whether Nader running mate Peter Camejo had disenrolled from the Green Party in compliance with a law applying to nonparty candidates.

The anti-Nader group’s complaint also cites instances of duplicate signatures and bogus signatures. It also says some of the signers were misled by circulators who concealed Nader’s name on petitions.

Democrats opposed to Nader have been trying for the last week to find flaws with the petitions that might invalidate some of the names.

Saxl said has no institutional ties to the Democratic Party. But he echoed Democratic claims that Republicans were bankrolling the Nader effort in a cynical attempt to draw votes from Democrat John Kerry, thereby helping President Bush in the Nov. 2 election.

Maine Republican Party officials deny the party has played any role in helping the Nader effort.

AP-ES-08-23-04 1716EDT

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