HARRISBURG - The Constitution Party of Pennsylvania has sued the state's chief elections official, claiming the party's presidential and vice presidential candidates are unfairly being denied spots on the November ballot.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Harrisburg federal court against Secretary of State Pedro Cortés, seeks an injunction to include presidential nominee Chuck Baldwin and vice presidential nominee Darrell R. Castle.

The suit says the party submitted nearly 22,000 signatures by Aug. 1, not enough to qualify. The 8,000 more it tried to submit last week were not accepted. Lawyer Jim Clymer, who represents the plaintiffs, says the Aug. 1 deadline for third-party candidates is overly burdensome and violates constitutional protections. A State Department spokesman said the lawsuit was being reviewed.

Presidential candidates on the Pennsylvania ballot are Republican John McCain, Democrat Barack Obama, Libertarian Bob Barr, and independent Ralph Nader. A court challenge to Barr's ballot status is scheduled for today in Philadelphia.

- AP