FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF OHIO
DATE: MAY 29, 2019
The Franklin County Board of Elections met on May 28, 2019, at 2:00 pm to consider a challenge to the candidacy of Libertarian candidate Rob Bender for Reynoldsburg Ward 3 City Council Representative.
The pretext of the challenge to Mr. Bender is the validity of his candidate petition signatures and the Minor Party status of the Libertarian Party to field candidates under Ohio law. The Ohio GOP has a long history of challenging Libertarian candidates in order to preserve the two-party system.
The Administrator for the BOE verified, in the May 28 hearing, that the signatures are valid and sufficient for the candidacy. Unhappy with that answer, Board Member Doug Preisse (R) asked his employee if he would like to “change his mind.” The answer was, “no.”
Too bad Mr. Preisse.
The Libertarian Party of Ohio gained Minor Party status in July 2018 after submitting over 100,000 petition signatures as required under Ohio law. Minor Party status remains valid if either the party’s gubernatorial or presidential candidate earns at least 3% of the vote. Ohio law allows a Minor Party two election cycles to reach this threshold.
The 2016 Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson received 3.17% of votes in Ohio, yet was ruled to not have achieved the required 3%.
Libertarian Party attorney and Capital Law School professor Mark Brown represented Mr. Bender at the hearing. He directed the Board to the facts that the challenge on ballot access was made outside the time allowed for such challenges and the elector bringing forth the challenge is not a Libertarian. The challenger to the petition was not present at the hearing.
Franklin County Libertarian Party Chair, Michael Sweeney, said of the challenge,
“We know the law is on our side, but the Republican and Democratic Board Members are not. They appeared unprepared for this hearing, baffled by their own rules, and casually claimed the benefit of ignorance that they zealously deny others who come before them.”
The BOE will meet again on Monday, June 3, 2019, at 3pm to consider this matter, which was continued at the request of BOE attorney to review Ohio law.
The Libertarian Party of Ohio annual Conference will be held in Toledo on May 31 – June 1 and is open to the public.
For more information on ballot access laws or the GOP history of ballot censorship contact:
Franklin County Libertarian Party 614-412-2026
Political Director, Kryssi Wichers 740-808-2158