On May 1, the Sixth Circuit refused to enjoin an Ohio law that requires petitioners to fill out a blank on each petition sheet showing the employer of the circulator. The decision is 29 pages long and acknowledges that this is a severe blow to the party. As a result of the decision, the party won’t have a gubernatorial nominee on the November ballot, and it will thus be removed from the ballot. If the party could have had a gubernatorial candidate on the ballot, and he polled 2%, then the party would be ballot-qualified for the next four years.
The decision acknowledges that the Ohio Libertarian Party was in a tough situation, in regard to gathering 500 signatures of party members on its primary petitions for Governor-Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. Because the party didn’t know if it was going to have a primary until it won the last round, it only had a month to complete its primary petitions. And, as the decision notes, that was during a period of very severe winter weather. But, the decision says that there isn’t much evidence that forcing circulators to reveal the names of their employers is really a severe burden on those circulators.
The decision also acknowledges that the requirement that circulators reveal their employer on each petition sheet has only existed since 2004, and had never before been enforced, but says that nevertheless the law was clear.
There is one factual error in the decison; page 20 says Ralph Nader was a “minor party” candidate in 2004, when actually in 2004 he was an independent presidential candidate.
The party expects to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Sixth Circuit. Thanks to Gregg Norris and Steve Linnabary for the link.