U.S. District Court Says New Ohio Ballot Access Law is Probably Unconstitutional; Issues Injunction Putting Libertarians on 2012 Ballot

Emailed to IPR:

COLUMBUS—A U.S. District Court judge ruled Wednesday against the state of Ohio in a lawsuit brought by the Libertarian Party of Ohio to preserve its right to be on the ballot.

Judge Algenon Marbley granted the Libertarian Party of Ohio’s request for a preliminary injunction that protects ballot access for the party through 2012, including for Libertarian candidates already on the November 2011 ballot in Akron and Troy.

The ruling is part of ongoing litigation, LPO v. Husted, which the LPO filed in response to the passage of HB 194 by the General Assembly earlier this year, a measure that made several changes to Ohio’s voting system.

“This ruling is not just a victory for the Libertarian Party of Ohio, but for the majority of Ohioans, including Republicans and Democrats, who are looking for a viable alternative to our current, dysfunctional two-party system,” said Michael Johnston, LPO vice chair. “With this ruling, Judge Marbley has guaranteed that our soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan will be able to participate in an open electoral process, not unlike the one they laid their lives down to create in the Middle East. We look forward to engaging all political opponents in a vibrant debate in the upcoming Presidential election cycle.”

Marbley noted that the General Assembly had “failed to respond” to previous federal court rulings in favor of the LPO’s ballot access rights in 2006 and 2008. Marbley’s decision recaps LPO v. Brunner, noting that the court found that the requirements set forth by then-Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner were a “severe, unconstitutional burden.” The decision also agreed with the LPO that the new requirements contained in HB 194 limit the ability of the LPO to participate in the democratic process, a fundamental requirement for a group such as the Libertarian Party that seeks to govern.

“Women fought for the right to vote 100 years ago, minorities fought the same fight 50 years ago, and here we are in the 21st century doing the same thing,” said LPO Chair Kevin Knedler. “At a time when the United States is trying to spread freedom and liberty around the world, it is unfortunate that we have to fight in courtrooms, right here in Ohio, for a basic freedom: the right to have more than just one or two choices on a ballot and the right to privately express ourselves when voting. The fight for our freedoms is not over, but after three federal court wins in five years, we are much closer.”

Several recent public opinion polls have demonstrated growing interest in political alternatives to the two major parties that routinely drive our nation and state to the brink of disaster. The Libertarian Party is that alternative, supporting balanced budgets, common sense laws, and promoting candidates whose recognize that the United States Constitution is our nation’s primary source of law.

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in Ohio. Founded in 1971, the LP supports fiscal responsibility and social acceptance. LPO candidates espousing common-sense, middle class values in 2010 collectively earned enough voter trust to garner more than 1,000,000 votes statewide and earned an average of more than five percent for their respective races. The LPO was the only minor party to run a full statewide executive slate in 2010—the first minor party to do so since 1934—and had the only gubernatorial candidate bold and honest enough to release a budget plan for Ohio before the General Election.

For additional information or to support, volunteer, or run for public office as a Libertarian, please visit www.LPO.org.

Ballot Access News:

On September 7, U.S. District Court Judge Algenon Marbley issued a preliminary injunction, ordering the state not to enforce the ballot access law passed earlier this year by the legislature. The 12-page decision is Libertarian Party of Ohio v Husted, 2:11-cv-722, and says in all likelihood, the new law’s deadline of early February is too early. It is not yet known if the Secretary of State will appeal. If there is no appeal, it is likely that the Constitution, Green and Socialist Parties will merit the same relief.

2 thoughts on “U.S. District Court Says New Ohio Ballot Access Law is Probably Unconstitutional; Issues Injunction Putting Libertarians on 2012 Ballot

  1. Kevin Knedler

    Agreed. Dispatch called us. Still nothing.
    Press releases sent to them.
    This is part of the House Bill 194 that may be up for a referendum vote by citizens of Ohio in 2012. That HAS been in the news a lot.

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