Most Americans have a general sense that the Republican and Democrat parties have too much control over our political system and electoral process, but, for Ohio voters, Senate Bill 193 is a stark demonstration of just how ruthless those in power work to fend off challenges to the status quo. Passed earlier this month, and signed by Gov. Kasich, SB 193 removes all challenger parties from the Ohio ballot in 2014, and makes it more difficult for them to regain status as a recognized political party in Ohio. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Bill Seitz said he introduced the bill because Ohio had no election law in place for minor parties. This is true, having been the case since 2006 when a federal court declared Ohio minor party law unconstitutional in LPO v. Blackwell.
In the absence of a law, federal courts have directed the Ohio Secretary of State to allow any party showing a modicum of support access to the ballot. In the intervening seven years Ohio lawmakers have not lifted a finger to change this situation, but suspiciously chose to do so once it became clear that incoming Gov. John Kasich might have trouble getting reelected in 2014.
Because Libertarian party gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl seems to be attracting many fiscal conservatives disgusted by Kasich’s record on taxes, spending, and Obamacare/Medicare expansion, the Republican Party in the House and Senate decided to act to restrict voter choice.