Reaffirms application of 1st Amendment
December 31, 2009
Today in Columbus, Ohio’s Secretary of State has acknowledged the Libertarian Party’s continuing right to participate in the political process through peaceful elections. The Libertarian Party of Ohio (LPO) successfully sued the state of Ohio in 2006, resulting in a federal court striking down petitioning requirements that had been in Ohio Statute for decades. In 2008, the LPO further pushed the issue, and was ordered onto the ballot by a federal judge. As of December 31, 2009, the Ohio General Assembly has not produced a new law to allow for the formation of political parties in Ohio, resulting in directive 2009-21.
Upon being notified of the new directive, LPO Chair Kevin Knedler immediately began letting our network of liberty-minded voters and supporters know that Ohioans would be guaranteed a choice in 2010. “This is just another step in our march for a permanent statute that assures us of our First Amendment rights of free association and free speech,” noted Mr. Knedler as he updated party leadership of the news. “Today, we can look at our children and tell them that it is still possible in America to petition the government for a redress of grievances. We have achieved the First Amendment hat trick… and we are now fully prepared to face the other two major parties on more even footing.”
“This directive from Secretary Brunner affirms that Ohio’s elections process will be free and open,” said LPO Treasurer & Deputy Political Director Michael Johnston. “This marks the first time in more than half a century that a political party other than Republicans and Democrats has been able to run their own candidates in Ohio for three consecutive years.” In addition to the LP Presidential team of Bob Barr and Wayne Root, the LPO was represented by 8 candidates for state and federal office in 2008. Just a few months back, the LPO fielded nearly a dozen candidates for local election, most notably John McAlister who won his 5th term on Gahanna City Council, Spencer Phelps who earned 34% in his race for Marion City Council President, and Sean “Kalin” Stipe whose active campaign produced enough local interest and momentum for the Lorain County Libertarian Party to organize.
Taking a break from holiday celebrations and campaign planning, Legislative Relations Committee Jacob Dawson was thrilled to hear the news. “We will be pressing for a permanent solution in January and beyond, but knowing that we can participate and grow in 2010 will give us a far more solid position with the General Assembly.” Dawson also noted that progress towards a permanent solution thus far has been exceptionally good. “Mike [Johnston] and Kevin [Knedler] basically wrote the language passed by the House [in Sub HB 260], but even though it was a Democrat-sponsored bill, the Republicans in the Ohio House didn’t even want to debate their language. They made no attempt to block or stall ballot access.” Prior to Christmas break, the Ohio Senate passed Sub SB 8, which did not include the ballot access language. “The LPO will continue to negotiate with both houses of the General Assembly until our language passes both houses and gets to the governor’s desk.”
Candidate Committee Chair Bryant Callaghan was also thrilled at the news. “Some people have expressed concern about running, not being certain about our ballot access status. Today we can definitively state that any Ohioan can run for office as a member of the Libertarian Party.” Callaghan and Johnston have set a goal to run candidates in at least 150 races around Ohio. “It is actually easier for our candidates to get onto the ballot than it is for the Republicans and Democrats,” Callaghan noted, referring to the lowered signature requirements for Libertarian candidate petitions. Ohio also has comparatively lower barriers for partisan candidates than other states in general, with most offices on the 2010 ballot only requiring 25 valid signatures. Anyone interested in running for office in 2010 or 2011 is encouraged to contact Candidates@LPO.org at their earliest convenience. The filing deadline for 2010 candidates is in mid-February.
Go to the Libertarian Party of Ohio website to learn more.