LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Ralph Nader’s campaign has
sued in federal court in an attempt to be placed on the Michigan
ballot as the Reform Party’s presidential candidate.

A suit was also filed in Illinois to gain ballot access there,
the Nader campaign said.

The Nader campaign said the Michigan suit was filed late Tuesday
in federal court in Detroit. Nader says the state of Michigan
violated his First Amendment right to be on the ballot as a
candidate of a political party.

“Ralph Nader is the nominee of the Reform Party and he is
entitled to appear on the Reform Party’s ballot line in
Michigan,” Nader’s attorney, Bruce Afran, said in a
written statement. “Anything less is a violation of
Nader’s constitutional rights and the right of voters to have
a ballot free of manipulation by professional
politicians.”

Nader might also qualify for the Michigan ballot as an
independent candidate, but he would prefer to be listed as the
Reform Party candidate, his campaign said.

Nader’s candidacy may have significant impact in Michigan.
Republican President George Bush and Democratic challenger John
Kerry are locked in a close race, and some Democrats are worried
that a Nader candidacy could draw support from Kerry.

Nader received the nomination of a group claiming to be the
state’s legitimate Reform Party this summer. He wants the
federal court to order Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land
to recognize his endorsement by the Reform Party and put him and
running mate Peter Miguel Camejo on the party’s November
ballot line.

Land has so far rejected the nomination because there is a
dispute over who represents the Reform Party in Michigan.

Kelly Chesney, a Secretary of State spokeswoman, said Wednesday
afternoon the department has received a copy of the suit and is
reviewing it with the state Attorney General’s office.

The group that nominated Nader for the Reform Party candidacy in
Michigan is led by John Muntz of Wyandotte.

“They’re fighting for Michigan because they know
what has happened here,” Muntz said Wednesday. “They
know what’s at stake here.”

Another group, led by Matthew Crehan of Muskegon, also claims to
be the Reform Party’s legitimate representative in the
state.

Crehan’s group has not nominated a presidential
candidate.

A national Reform Party spokesman said earlier this week that
the party considers Muntz its official Michigan chairman.

Nader also has a chance to qualify for the Michigan ballot as an
independent candidate. State officials are reviewing a challenge to
that candidacy from the Michigan Democratic Party.

More than 50,000 signatures were submitted to state election
officials on Nader’s behalf. Most of the signatures were
turned in by the Michigan Republican Party.

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