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Ohio Libertarian Party Wins Ballot Access Lawsuit

Published on July 17, 2008, by in General.

On July 17, a U.S. District Court granted an injunction, putting the Ohio Libertarian Party on the November ballot, for president, Congress, and state legislative races. Libertarian Party of Ohio v Brunner, s.d., 2:08-cv-555.

The basis for the injunction was (1) the U.S. Constitution requires that election laws for federal office be written by state legislatures, and therefore the Secretary of State cannot make up ballot access rules; (2) even if the Secretary of State did have authority to write ballot access rules, it is still unconstitutional to force a party to submit a hefty petition almost a full year before the general election. See the decision at this link, courtesy of ElectionLawBlog.

It is not known if the Secretary of State will appeal to the 6th circuit.

10 Responses

  1. Jonathan

    Finally a victory for the Libertarian Party . One gets so discouraged with all the restrictions and appeals that when you do finally read a piece of good news, you just know they will appeal. I hope they don’t. We need some good news in the ballot access front

  2. Boomer SoCal

    Thanks to all who worked so hard on this!!! /WIN!!!

  3. This ruling, if sustained, will put 8 candidates on ballot for the US House in Ohio and several candidates for Ohio General Assembly.

    Mr. Winger, if you have any information as to who will be on the ballot for the Libertarians in Ohio and what district they’re running in, I’m sure we’d all be much obliged if you posted here or provided a link.

  4. Zeleni

    Richard, any idea if this can be applied for other third party candidates in Ohio? Although the Libertarians filed the suit, these same draconian laws apply to the Greens and others.

  5. Robert Butler

    Richard,

    Thank you so much for your constant dedication and service to the cause of ballot access. This success would not have happened without you. Thank you very much!

    In answer to one the questions posted here, Mike Johnston will be running for the state General Assembly, 19th district in eastern Franklin County. The previous holder of the seat, Larry Flowers (R) was term-limited and is not in the race. Also running for office in Central Ohio are Jeremiah Arn (Ohio house – 21st), Mark Noble & Steve Linnabary for Congress. David Macko and Paul Conroy are running for Congress in Cleveland, Tim McNeil for state house in the Mahoning Valley area, and Ann Leech for state senate in Cincy. And of course Bob Barr and Wayne Root and their electors.

    A Sincere Thank You,
    Robert Butler
    Former Executive Director and Chair
    LP Ohio

  6. My name is Christopher Hayhurst and I am a member of the Executive Committee for the Libertarian Party of Ohio. I was there for the hearing in Columbus. We had 30+ people show up in the gallery in suits, including every single member of the state party’s leadership. We had 2 lawyers- one from New York and one from Columbus and the State had 1 lawyer who battled against us in 2003 when we sued Ohio for ballot access(we won then, too).

    The judge was obviously sympathetic to our case and we all walked out feeling like the odds were in our favor a good ruling was going to come out of it. The hearing lasted about 2 hours. VERY interesting stuff.

    If you are in Ohio, please go to http://WWW.LPO.ORG and contact the leadership to get involved. We are now the 4th-largest state affiliate in the Party and have a GREAT leadership structure to help with Bob Barr’s campaign.

    With your help, you can see Bob Barr affect the presidential race, bring the LP to the forefront in American politics and bring freedom back to America!

  7. There is definitely a lot of credit to go around. Richard, thank you, you have been indispensable on this and many other matters. Gary Sinawski did a great job and is a tremendous asset to us. This also could not have happened without the LPO doing such a fantastic job on this and everything else related to ballot access the in the last year. There’s a reason why LPO is #4 with a bullet.

  8. Richard

    The Libertarian petitioners who got a few thousand signatures in 2007 in Ohio also deserve some credit…Paul Frankel, Gary Fincher, and Andy Jacobs. We wouldn’t have won this victory if we hadn’t turned in some signatures.

    I tend to doubt that this ruling will help any party that doesn’t submit some signatures. Assuming it doesn’t get reversed on appeal, I tend to think that if the Constitution Party goes to court, it can get the “Constitution” label on the ballot for president and attorney general (because they petitioned for those). And if the Greens get 5,000 valid signatures on their independent presidential petition, it is possible they could also get “Green” on the ballot for Cynthia McKinney. But I don’t think any other candidates for congress or state could get on the ballot, no matter if they petition, since the state could say all those non-presidential candidates should have filed in March 2008 or earlier. The 6th circuit upheld a March petition deadline for non-presidential indepedents, back in 2005.

  9. Jim R

    The sad part is that the decision doesn’t really address the core problem which is that States hold their primaries so early in the year. If Ohio had a September primary, I doubt that a court would worry about a new party having to file in June to hold a primary.

    You have voters effectively choosing their US Representatives 8 months before the date set by Congress. The voters who choose may no longer live in the district or may be dead, and you have excluded those who become 18, become citizens, or move into the district in the next 8 months.

  10. Gary Fincher

    Thanks, Richard, for the rare (in our party) gesture of giving petitioners some credit. I’ve been a candidate *and* a petitioner, and let me tell you that petitioning is a much more difficult, arduous, unglamourous job.

    While I do get thanked just about every day I circulate by members of the general public, it’s very, very rare that I get thanked within my own party, despite putting in years and even decades of service to the cause.

    Ironic, but could it be that the general public appreciates petitioners more than the petitioiners’ own party?

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