LP Ohio files suit to protect third-party ballot access

The Libertarian Party of Ohio is fighting to protect third-party ballot access, and released the following statement on Friday with details of its lawsuit against the state:

Libertarian Party of OhioCOLUMBUS—The Libertarian Party of Ohio filed suit against the State of Ohio in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio Friday afternoon (Nov. 8, 2013) to block implementation of SB 193, which was signed by Gov. Kasich Wednesday night.

Commonly known as the John Kasich Re-election Protection Act and slated to take effect in 90 days, SB 193 removes all challenger political parties from the 2014 ballot and takes away their right to a primary election as guaranteed by the Ohio Constitution. It also effectively limits challenger parties and candidates to just 90 days of campaigning before the 2014 general election.

Friday’s filing by the LPO was added to an already existing case (filed several weeks ago) that challenges a new law requiring that petition circulators must be Ohio residents.

“John Kasich and the Republicans in the General Assembly have overtly violated both the federal and Ohio constitutions by limiting democratic participation and choice for every Ohioan,” said LPO Central Committee Chairman Aaron Keith Harris of the bill introduced by Sen. Bill Seitz on the same day Libertarian governor candidate Charlie Earl kicked off his campaign in September. “They’re afraid to compete fairly in the arena of ideas with a party that actually stands for individual freedom and fiscal responsibility, and SB 193 is their way of running from a fight that they simply can’t afford to have.”

The LPO has consistently lobbied the state legislature for a fair election law since 2006, when federal courts in LPO v. Blackwell struck down a law concerning “minor” political parties. Since then, the LPO has won two more federal court fights over ballot access.