We need your help to get the Libertarian Party regain ballot access in Ohio. This article helps explain what ballot access is, why it is important to us, and why the Libertarian Party of Ohio does not currently have it. To volunteer, check the “Circulate Petitions” or “Validate Petitions” box on the Volunteer form.
What is “ballot access”?
“Ballot access” is the right to put a political party label under a candidate’s name on the ballot. Having ballot access also enables a party to hold a primary. Under Ohio law (ORC 3501.38, amended in 2013 by Senate Bill 193), a political party must get 3% of the vote for Governor or 3% of the vote for President to gain ballot access for four years. The party must again get 3% of the vote for President or Governor to renew its access for another four years. Supporters of SB 193 designed and timed this bill to prevent the Libertarian Party of Ohio (LPO) from appearing on the ballot in 2014. To correct this injustice, the LPO filed several lawsuits. The federal district court in the first case, Libertarian Party of Ohio v. Husted, ordered the Secretary of State to keep the LPO on the ballot in 2014 (Court documents). This case went to the Supreme Court of the United States, which decided to let stand a federal appeals court ruling against the LPO. A suit filed in the state court system in 2015 challenged the constitutionality of SB 193 on the basis of Article V, Section 7 of the Ohio Constitution.
Why the Party needs to circulate petitions now
The law requires us to circulate petitions containing more than 55,000 valid signatures (with at least 500 each from eight of Ohio’s 16 Congressional Districts), and file them by August 2023 to allow our candidates to show the Libertarian label on the ballot. Because petition gathering usually results in a large number of invalid signatures, the state party will attempt to gather at least 110,000 signatures statewide. The Libertarian Party of Ohio office will be open throughout this year to receive and validate signatures using a method proven successful in our effort to get our 2020 Presidential candidate Gary Johnson on the Ohio ballot as a Libertarian. Volunteers are validating the signatures in a process so laborious that — to do the process correctly — it would take a full-time employee over a year and a half to validate the petitions.