A panel of state officials will meet this week to comb through the signatures on petitions submitted by backers of independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Chris Ludlow, a spokesman for the Secretary of State, says a Des Moines woman submitted a challenge to the Nader petitions on Friday. Three state officials will sit down this week and hear from both sides in the dispute. Secretary of State Chet Culver, State Auditor David Vaudt and Attorney General Tom Miller make up the panel that’ll hear the case. The complaint makes several allegations about the signatures on the petitions Nader backers submitted in order to get his name on the November ballot. Ludlow says the charges are that the person who signed the petition didn’t state a correct address, does not legally reside where stated or didn’t even sign their name on the petition. In addition, the woman who filed the complaint claims on the signatures on the petition are of people who do not exist.Ludlow says the three state officials will hear both sides, and make a quick ruling. It could take a while if they comb through every signature. Fifteen-hundred signatures from at least 10 Iowa counties were needed to get Nader’s name on the November ballot in Iowa. Nader backers submitted three-thousand-one-hundred-98 signatures. The Nader petition drive in Iowa and other states has been under fire as some volunteers stood outside Bush/Cheney campaign events, soliciting signatures and telling Bush backers getting Nader on the ballot would help Bush and hurt rival John Kerry. The hearing to consider the petition-signature challenge in Iowa will be held Thursday at 10:30 in the Legislative Dining Room in the Statehouse.
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