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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ohio governor signs controversial ballot access bill, opponents to file lawsuit

On November 6, 2013, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed the controversial ballot access bill that places new restrictions on the ability of minor parties to get their candidates onto the ballot. With the governor's signature, Sen. Bill Seitz's (R) more restrictive compromise language that he introduced in conference committee is now law, and the effect on minor parties could be dramatic.

Hc-ed-minority-party-wins-ballot-access-201310-001Republican supporters of the bill pushed yesterday to get the bill through the general assembly and signed by the governor so that the law would take effect before the February 5, 2014 filing deadline for candidates. Their efforts were successful. Minor parties now must fulfill the laws more restrictive access requirements for the 2014 election.

As a result, minor party candidates wishing to appear on next year's ballot who have already begun the process of collecting signature will have to start anew. Ohio House Speaker William G. Batchelder (R) was surprised by this:

Batchelder said he disagreed that the bill should be delayed, but when told that some minor-party candidates had already collected signatures, he said that may need more conversation.

“Obviously if somebody has petitions that are completed, perhaps we ought to look at that,” he said.

While reasonable debate over ballot access should continue, Speaker Batchelder's ostinsible ignorance as to the bill's effect on potential minor party candidates in next years election is particularly troubling. Given the extensive debate in the House, one would expect the Speaker to know what the bill's immediate impact might be. 

The Libertarian Party of Ohio remains resolute in its fight against the new law. According to The Columbus Dispatch, "[T]he party likely would file a lawsuit by the end of the week against what they and other critics have dubbed the 'Kasich Re-election Protection Act.'"

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http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/civil_rights/2013/11/kasich-signs-bill-on-ballot-access-for-minor-parties.html

Election Law, First Amendment, Freedom of Assembly | Permalink

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