On October 2, the Ohio Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee did not vote on SB 193, the bill that revises ballot access for new and minor parties. The Committee wants to take more time before making a decision.
If Ohio legislators want to be truly creative, they should simply abolish mandatory petitions to create a new party. As recently as 1948, twelve states didn’t require new or small parties to submit any petition to get on the ballot. Instead, these twelve states simply required parties to demonstrate that they had an organization in the state. Florida, Mississippi, and Vermont still use that model today. Also, there are a growing number of states that use registration data, instead of petitions, to determine which parties are on the ballot. That idea would be difficult for Ohio to implement, however, because Ohio voter registration forms don’t ask the applicant to choose a party.
The twelve states that, in 1948, only required a group to be organized were Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia (for president only), Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. No state in 1948 had a crowded general election ballot. No state had more than seven presidential candidates on its ballot.
Petitions cost governments money. On the average, election administrators must pay $1 for each signature checked.
Ohio is also free to permit candidates who petition for a place on the general election ballot to choose a partisan label, that would be printed on the ballot next to the candidate’s name. Ohio permitted labels for candidates who used the independent procedure, between 1891 and 1947. The current law says that candidates who use the independent procedure must choose either to have no label at all, or “no party candidate” or “other party candidate.” Thanks to Kevin Knedler for the news about the committee.