Libertarian Party Beats Ken Blackwell:

Today a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that two of Ohio's ballot access regulations, in combination, are unconstiutional. Specifically, in Libertarian Party v. Blackwell, the Court ruled:

the combination of two Ohio election regulations – the requirement that all political parties nominate their candidates via primary election and the requirement that all minor political parties file a petition with the Secretary 120 days in advance of the primary – imposes an unconstitutional burden on its First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of free association, by effectively preventing it from gaining access to the general election ballot in the twelve months preceding a presidential election. Following the analytical framework set forth by the Supreme Court in Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780 (1983), and its progeny, we find that the combination of these two requirements imposes a severe burden on the constitutional rights of the LPO, its members, and its potential voter-supporters. As the regulations are not narrowly tailored and do not advance a compelling state interest, Ohio’s system for registering new political parties violates the Constitution.
Judge Gibbons wrote the majority opinion. Judge Clay concurred in part and dissented in part. Judge Griffin dissented.

I'm in the Detroit airport at the moment, awaiting a delayed flight, so I doubt I'll be able to post more on this today. However, I expect Rick Hasen's Election Law Blog and Ohio State's Election Law site will link to commentary on the decision as it appears.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Another Ballot Access Rule Bites the Dust:
  2. More on LP v. Blackwell:
  3. Libertarian Party Beats Ken Blackwell:
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More on LP v. Blackwell:

Yesterday's Sixth Circuit decision finding that Ohio election regulations unconstitutionally denied ballot access to the Libertarian Party is more significant than the relatively sparse press coverage would suggest. Our local paper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, only ran this small story on the decision.

As Richard Winger notes, this is the first time a minor party has won a ballot access case in a federal appeals court since 1997. This decision could also have national implications given Ohio's pivotal role in recent Presidential campaigns and increasingly purple hue. There is a Libertarian Party candidate for Governor in Ohio this year (former Case economics professor Bill Pierce), but the Libertarian candidate for President was not on the Ohio ballot in 2004, and this likely aided the re-election of President Bush. Given how disenchanted many Ohio conservatives have become with current Republican office holders, the LP may begin to cut into the GOP's support if it continues to field candidates (and Ohio Republicans continue to eschew any commitment to limited-government).

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Another Ballot Access Rule Bites the Dust:

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit struck down Illinois' ballot access requirements. In Lee v. Keith, a unanimous panel found Illinois' rules, which were among the most stringent in the nation, to be unconstitutional burdens on the freedom of association protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. This decision comes on the heels of a Sixth Circuit opinion that struck down Ohio's ballot access regulations on similar grounds. Rick Hasen has more here. (LvHB)

NOTE: Broken link to opinion is now fixed.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Another Ballot Access Rule Bites the Dust:
  2. More on LP v. Blackwell:
  3. Libertarian Party Beats Ken Blackwell:
Comments