Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ohio Ballot Access Liberalized, Kudos to Democratic Secretary of State

Here is a news item from earlier in the week. As I've said many times in recent months, Democrats seem to be more friendly to liberty these days than Republicans, who have let power go to their heads. Here's another reason to cheer for Ken Blackwell's defeat -LJ

News Release
For Immediate Distribution
May 22, 2007
Contact: Robert Butler
w:(740) 204-3036
c:(614) 805-8292

Ballot Access Restrictions Eased
Major Victory for Libertarian Party

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner issued a new directive yesterday allowing minor political parties to organize for the 2008 ballot with half the signatures previously required by Ohio law. The new directive comes as a response to a lawsuit filed by The Libertarian Party of Ohio against J Kenneth Blackwell in 2004 after the previous Secretary of State had rejected their petitions to become a political party.

After hearing the Libertarian's case, the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Ohio's ballot access laws in September of 2006. The requirement to submit over 40,000 signatures a full year in advance of the general election was found to be an "unconstitutional monopoly of the two-party system". The Secretary issued the administrative directive yesterday to fill the void in Ohio's election law until the General Assembly takes action.

"We still need to submit over 20,000 valid signatures by late November," said LPO Chair Robert Butler, "but this new directive is only a temporary step in the right direction. We hope that the Ohio General Assembly will write a new law that meets the 6th Circuit's requirements to be constitutional."

According to Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News, and a nationally recognized expert in ballot access, "It's the best legal news that minor parties have had in any state in calendar year 2007 so far."

Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky all have fewer ballot access restrictions than Ohio."The voters need to know who they are voting for," said Butler. "If a candidate is really a Libertarian, why should he have to pretend to be a Republican or Democrat to get on the ballot?"


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