After surviving the Ohio GOP attempt to remove challenger parties from the 2014 election, Libertarian governor hopeful Charlie Earl was certified to be on the ballot Tuesday.
Earl, attorney general candidate Steven Linnabary, and about 20 more Libertarian candidates for other offices throughout Ohio, will be candidates in the state’s May 6 primary—for those who choose a Libertarian ballot—and for the November 4 general election.
In November, Kasich signed SB 193—known statewide as the “John Kasich Re-Election Protection Act.” Passed with only Republican votes and with no person or group testifying in its favor, SB 193 banned the Libertarian Party and other challenger parties from the 2014 election.
In January, a federal judge ruled in LPO v. Husted that Ohio could not enforce SB 193 in 2014.
Libertarian Pary of Ohio Political Director Bob Bridges said the party will appeal rulings that excluded from the ballot Libertarian hopefuls for secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, and a state house candidate.
“We have reason to believe that some local boards of election improperly invalidated many signatures and petitions for these candidates based on a mistaken interpretation of who is eligible to sign and circulate petitions,” Bridges said. “This is about what we expected from a highly partisan secretary of state with a horrible record on voting rights.”
Under Ohio election law, Ohio voters may not sign or circulate petitions for Libertarian candidates if they are neither registered Libertarians nor “unaffiliated” voters.
In Warren County, the county board of elections was forced to convene a special meeting to reverse their decision to keep a state representative candidate from the ballot because the board had incorrectly invalidated several signatures, Bridges said.
“With the way Libertarians have been treated by the legislature and the secretary of state over the past decade, we have been forced into the position of knowing the law better than those enforcing it,” said Scott Pettigrew, the Libertarian candidate in the 62nd House district.
“Given that we spent four months fighting SB 193 for the right to exist as a political party in Ohio and that about half of our supporters were prohibited by law from helping with the petition effort because they voted for Ron Paul in the Republican primary, I think we did an amazing job,” said Kevin Knedler, LPO Executive Committee Chair.
“We’re the only challenger party to survive the Republican attempt to end electoral choice in Ohio,” Knedler said. “That means fiscal conservatives and people who value individual liberty and Constitutional rights still have an option in November.”
For more information:
Aaron Keith Harris
LPO Communications Director