Monday, January 23, 2017

'Circular reasoning' keeps Libertarians off ballot in Ohio

Here's why Ohio's Libertarians can't get their party name on the ballot | - Robert Higgs:

January 20, 2017 - "The Ohio Supreme Court on Friday rejected a complaint from members of Ohio's Libertarian Party that Secretary of State Jon Husted improperly decided to keep the party's designation from appearing on future ballots.

"In a 6-1 ruling, the court held that Husted was correct when he asserted Libertarians could not use the vote totals from Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, who got 3.17 percent of the vote in November's election....

"Ohio law requires parties reach a threshold of 3 percent to be allowed to have their affiliation listed with candidates. Husted said no because Johnson ran as an independent.... Members of the Libertarian Party sued in December in an attempt to overturn Husted's decision.

"But in its ruling, the Supreme Court said that ballot performance would only have helped the Libertarian Party if the candidates had actually appeared as Libertarian candidates. But since the Libertarians were not recognized as a valid party entering the election, that was not possible.

"'As Husted notes, the 3 percent vote required for a group to "remain" a political party must be received by the 'political party's candidate,' as specified in [state law,' the court said. 'The Libertarian's] candidates could not be the "political party's candidate[s]" because they were nominated and appeared on the ballot as independent candidates, unaffiliated with any political party'....

"Justice William O'Neill dissented.

"The Libertarians, he wrote, want recognition to participate in Ohio's 2017 primary election and beyond, while Husted is opposed because their presidential ticket did not appear as Librertarians on the ballot.

"'That is, at best, circular reasoning. It would not have been possible for Gary Johnson and Bill Weld to run as the candidates of the Libertarian Party as there was no such party recognized by the state of Ohio,' O'Neill wrote. 'Political parties have to start somewhere. Relators followed the rules that define what constitutes a political party, and now the state's chief elections officer asks this court to twist those rules around to keep the seeds of democracy from sprouting.'"

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