AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Ralph Nader's presidential campaign contended in federal court Thursday that Texas ballot access requirements for independent candidates are unconstitutional, noting that they are more stringent than those faced by third-party candidates.
U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel suggested it would be a matter of days before he issued a ruling.
Nader attorney James C. Linger argued that the state has no legitimate reason to have different requirements for independent and third-party candidates. However, Deputy Attorney General Ed Burbach said the signature and time requirements were not unreasonable and could have been met with a better effort by Nader's group.
"This involves First Amendment rights and fundamental freedoms," Linger told the court.
The Nader campaign tried to get the consumer activist on the Texas ballot by collecting voter signatures but turned them in two weeks after the state deadline in May.
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