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Libertarians Fight Order To Remove Them From Ballot
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Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Friday that Libertarians Charlie Earl and Steven Linnabary wonâ€™t be on the May ballot in the races for governor and attorney general, respectively.
The decision comes after hearings last week to protest the signatures that got them there. The ruling was a main topic of the Libertariansâ€™ convention this weekend in Columbus, where Charlie Earl was one of the headline speakers.
â€œWe filed in federal court on Friday night,” Earl says. “And we filed that this is a First Amendment abridgment of our rights to nominate our candidates. And what weâ€™re talking about the primary.
“They invalidated us for the primary and we felt Libertarians ought to have a right to choose who their candidates are despite what has been described by some as an immaterial oversight.â€
That â€œoversightâ€ was the non-disclosure by two people hired to gather signatures that they were in fact being paid.
Husted says his decision came from hearing officer Brad Smithâ€™s conclusion that the signatures were invalid because paid circulators need to disclose whoâ€™s paying them. While Earl acknowledged that this costly mistake canâ€™t happen again if Libertarians want to be contenders in elections, he says voters will suffer if Libertarians stay off the ballot.
â€œIt was an oversight. It wasnâ€™t an intentional deceit. It was an oversight. Somebody didnâ€™t fill out the back of the petition form.
“Iâ€™ll deal with it,”Earl said about the possibility of not being able to run. “Iâ€™m an adult. Iâ€™ll go home and work on the farm. But I do believe the people of Ohio deserve a choice. And itâ€™s not me. Itâ€™s the message, not the messenger that counts here.â€
Libertarians claim their message is that theyâ€™re an alternative to both major political parties â€“ but certainly Republicans and Democrats were watching this situation.
But lawyers for those protesting the Libertariansâ€™ place on the ballot had said circulators were paid by Democrats who wanted a conservative in the race against incumbent John Kasich. Libertarians admit they worked with Democrats, but say they also helped Democrat groups with their signature gathering efforts on a same-sex marriage amendment.
Meanwhile, Libertarians claimed the protests were backed by Republicans who feared their candidates – Earl in particular. Republicans have said they werenâ€™t involved in the protest filings.