The Libertarian Party of Ohio immediately appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday after a lower court denied its attempt to get a gubernatorial candidate on Tuesday’s primary ballot. Their candidate, Charlie Earl, was disqualified by Secretary of State Jon Husted after his nominating petitions were challenged. Husted agreed with a hearing officer who found two Earl petitioners failed to properly disclose their employers.
Articles about voting issues in Ohio.
Ohio: Case before U.S. Supreme Court could decide whether states can criminalize campaign lies | Cleveland Plain Dealer
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear arguments on an Ohio law that criminalizes deliberate lies about political candidates in a high-profile case that could overturn campaign speech restrictions around the nation. The controversy over whether Ohio’s law violates free speech has forged unlikely allies of the abortion-rights American Civil Liberties Union and the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List. It has also pitted Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine against himself as he defends the law in his official capacity while criticizing the law in a separate court filing. Even political satirist P. J. O’Rourke has weighed in with a U.S. Supreme Court brief that claims “the law at issue undermines the First Amendment’s protection of the serious business of making politics funny. Laws like Ohio’s here, which criminalize ‘false’ speech, do not replace truthiness, satire and snark with high-minded ideas and ‘just the facts,’ ” it continues. “Instead, they chill speech such that spin becomes silence.” Violations of Ohio’s law against political lies are considered a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Secretary of State Jon Husted should enforce a controversial rule that limits election spending by companies, nonprofits and unions, Democrats said Thursday. The regulation requires companies, unions and nonprofits to disclose when they pay for election ads. It also prohibits companies from spending money to influence elections for a year after they receive state or federal money, such as through a contract or a grant to promote job creation. Ohio House Republicans drew attention to the rule last week by passing legislation that would void it, saying limiting corporate election spending was a violation of free speech. But a spokesman for Husted, a Republican, said he couldn’t enforce the regulation anyway, since its provisions, and consequences for not following them, aren’t found anywhere in law. That doesn’t matter, Democrats told reporters Thursday.
Companies, nonprofits and unions wouldn’t have to disclose when they pay for an election advertisement, and corporations with state contracts would be allowed to spend money on elections, under a provision that passed the Ohio House Wednesday. The provision would void a rule implemented by former Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner that governs election spending by corporations, nonprofits and labor unions. The rule requires the groups to disclose when they spend money to advocate for or against the election of a candidate, both through a statement included in the ad and through a form filed with the secretary of state’s office. But Republicans’ main issue with the rule, a spokesman said, is its prohibition of election-related spending by corporations with state or federal government contracts within one year of their receiving money from the government. They also wanted to void the part of the rule that prohibits spending in elections by corporations with more than 20 percent ownership by non-U.S. citizens or corporations based outside the U.S.
Ohio: Cuyahoga County Council gives final approval to Ed FitzGerald’s ‘voting rights law’ | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Cuyahoga County Council voted along party lines Tuesday night to assert the county’s right to mail unsolicited absentee ballot applications, despite a new state law that forbids the county from doing so. Identical to a preliminary committee vote last week, eight council Democrats voted to approve County Executive Ed FitzGerald’s “voting rights law,” with council’s three Republican members dissenting. The ordinance says the county will mail postage prepaid voting applications to county voters as necessary. FitzGerald, a Democrat who is running for governor, said the county would only do so if the state doesn’t. Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted has said he will mail the applications statewide before the upcoming November election, but any future mailings would require approval from the state legislature.
Ohio: Secretary of State Jon Husted sees ‘no reason’ for lawmakers to punish Cuyahoga County for ballot mailers | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Secretary of State Jon Husted on Tuesday criticized his Republican colleagues in the legislature for threatening to slash state funding to Cuyahoga County if the county proceeds with plans to mail absentee ballot applications to voters. At the same time, Husted said that there’s no reason for Cuyahoga County to mail absentee ballot applications to all county voters, as his office is already planning to do that statewide this fall. “It’s time for everybody to take a deep breath and act like reasonable adults,” Husted said in an interview Tuesday.
Ohio Republicans have backed down on an effort to penalize the state’s largest county for sending out absentee ballots. But the escalating battle over voting rights in the nation’s most pivotal swing state shows no sign of subsiding—with one top Democrat calling for a federal probe of GOP voter suppression. A spokesman for House Republicans said Tuesday afternoon that the GOP would drop a measure that would have cut funding by 10% for any county that doesn’t follow state law regarding absentee ballots. The proposal, inserted Monday into a larger budget bill, was a direct shot at the state’s largest county, Cuyahoga, which has asserted the right to mail absentee ballots to all registered voters—in defiance of a recently passed state law barring counties from doing so. Hours later, the Cuyahoga council voted to assert its “home rule” power, giving it the authority to send absentee ballots to all registered voters in the county.
State Auditor Dave Yost’s comments about the possibility of getting into Cuyahoga County officials’ pocketbooks should increase the odds of a federal probe of voting in Ohio, the county’s law director says. “Going after the personal finances of public officials for trying to promote voter participation is unprecedented,” said Majeed G. Makhlouf. “I think we expect the Department of Justice to take the threat to voting rights pretty seriously.” At issue is a new law passed by the GOP-controlled state legislature and signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich saying that the secretary of state’s office is the only government agency that can send out absentee ballot applications.
After a day of controversy, House Republicans decided to pull a measure aimed at Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald that would have cut local government funding to any county mailing absentee ballot applications. House GOP spokesman Mike Dittoe explained the move by saying, “State Auditor Dave Yost, through a letter issued in August 2011 that surfaced today, contends that he already has such authority to issue findings of recovery to county officials who may be in violation of the law for this practice.” However, FitzGerald and Cuyahoga County Council defied state officials this evening by voting 8 to 3 to OK the mailing of absentee ballot applications to all Cuyahoga County voters. “Tonight, we sent a clear message to Columbus – Cuyahoga County will not be intimidated when it comes to protecting the right to vote,” said FitzGerald in a statement. “This fight is just getting started, and I am looking forward to continuing to work with the members of our County Council to stand up to anyone who wants to suppress the vote in Ohio.”
Ohio: Ed FitzGerald’s ‘voting rights’ legislation clears Cuyahoga council committee; Republicans dissent | Cleveland Plain Dealer
A Cuyahoga County Council committee voted along party lines Tuesday to advance “voter rights” legislation that conflicts with a new state law, a move which takes the county closer to what Republican council members said could end up being a costly legal fight. The eight Democrats on council’s committee of the whole – which is made up of all 11 council members — voted to move forward with legislation introduced last month by county Executive Ed FitzGerald, a fellow Democrat, while the council’s three Republicans dissented. The move indicates council is poised to approve the legislation, which would assert the county’s right to mail out unsolicited early voting applications and addressed envelopes with pre-paid postage to all its registered voters, at an upcoming meeting. The legislation is a response to a new state law, passed by Republicans in Columbus in February, that forbids counties from mailing out the applications. The new law allows the Ohio Secretary of State to send them out, statewide, if lawmakers appropriate money to pay for it — Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted says he plans to do so this November. Republicans say the new law promotes voting equality across all Ohio’s 88 counties.