AUGUSTA (AP) – Maine Democrats will go to court to challenge the state’s decision to list Ralph Nader as an independent presidential candidate on the November ballot, the party chairwoman said Friday.

Dorothy Melanson said the appeal of Secretary of State Dan Gwadosky’s ruling will be filed in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Melanson said she respects the decision of fellow Democrat Gwadosky but believes there are unresolved legal issues that require the court’s attention.

“It is absolutely necessary that someone seeking the presidency of the United States follow the rule of law when seeking that office,” she said.

The secretary of state’s office certified 4,128 voter petition signatures for Nader – 128 more than the minimum needed for ballot listing – on Aug. 16.

Earlier this week, Gwadosky affirmed a staff hearing officer’s recommendation and rejected challenges brought by Melanson and another Democratic activist.

The challengers complained that the Nader campaign had failed to comply with some of Maine’s ballot access requirements. The Nader campaign denied wrongdoing and maintained that any procedural failures were minor.

Nader received 5.7 percent of Maine’s presidential vote in 2000 when he was listed as a Green Independent. Democrat Al Gore carried the state with 49.1 percent to Republican George W. Bush’s 44 percent.

After this week’s ruling by Gwadosky, Nader campaign spokesman Kevin Zeese said it would be “foolish” for Democrats to continue to try to take Nader off Maine ballots.

“They’re looking so anti-democratic,” he said, adding that Nader would “give voters in Maine a real choice.”

AP-ES-09-10-04 2001EDT

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