WASHINGTON (AP) _ Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., urged the Florida Supreme Court to allow Ralph Nader on the state ballot after it hears an appeal Friday by the independent presidential candidate.
A state judge rejected Nader's efforts to be on the ballot as the candidate of the Reform Party, which the judge said is no longer a legitimate national party under state law. The state supreme court said it will issue a ruling shortly after hearing the appeal.
``I believe it would be a mistake to let a set of inequitable ballot rules keep a legitimate presidential candidate off the ballot,'' McCain said in a statement released Thursday night by The Reform Institute, a political and educational organization he chairs.
``These obstacles discourage public participation in elections by denying voters the right to vote for their preferred candidate. Keeping Nader off the ballot in the hope that his voters will be forced to support another candidate is patently unfair to those Floridians who, for whatever reason, have decided he's their man,'' McCain said.
Democrats have challenged efforts by Nader to be listed on the ballots in more than a dozen states. Many blame Nader for Democrat Al Gore's loss to Republican George W. Bush in the 2000 election, especially in Florida, where Bush won by just 537 votes. Nader drew more than 97,000 votes in the state.