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Libertarian Party Scores Ballot Access Victory In Ohio

May 30th, 2007

The Libertarian Party of Ohio has received a significant boost in its struggle to overcome ballot access barriers when Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner issued a new ruling that reduces the amount of signatures required to get on the ballot by half and extends the filing deadline for primary elections by three weeks.

The new directive came in response to a successful court challenge by the LP last fall. Under the old law, candidates had to collect signatures equal to 1% of the last vote total for governor (this figure amounted to 40,228 for the most recent election) in order to get on the ballot under their actual party name. Candidates who could not meet this threshold by the deadline could still make the ballot with at least 5,000 signatures, but they had to be listed as “independent” or “no party”.

Signature requirements for the 2008 elections are now reduced to 20,114 and the deadline for collecting those signatures has been extended to 100 days before the primary election instead of the previous 120. The only caveat to this favorable turn of events is that it could be superseded by the Ohio legislature if it decides to pass a new ballot access law, but so far lawmakers have not shown any interest in taking action on the matter, which according to this article at cantonrep.com was one of the reasons that the Secretary of State issued her ruling in the first place.

In any event, I am hopeful that the success in Ohio can be replicated in other states. Lowering signature requirements is very important for parties like the Libertarians because it means that we will not have to spend as much money for hiring petitioners and gathering signatures as we have in previous years. This means that we can concentrate more of our limited funds on the actual campaign instead of being distracted by these stupid, unfair ballot access laws.

Getting these laws changed has always been an extraordinarily difficult process because the people with the power to change the laws (that is, the state legislatures, governors, and most judges) are members of the established Republican and Democrat parties and therefore have a vested interest in keeping alternative parties out of the electoral process as much as possible. Our only real hope at this point is that the American sheeple will eventually wake up and realize that their coveted “democracy” is mostly an elitist sham that provides for very little diversity of opinion when it comes to actual political power.


Source links:
Ballot Access News
The Columbus Dispatch
CantonRep.com


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