Libertarian candidates for Ohio governor and attorney general were rightly disqualified from the ballot, a federal judge said Wednesday, upholding a ruling this month by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. Husted had removed gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl and attorney general candidate Steven Linnabary from the ballot because people who gathered the 500 signatures they each needed to qualify did not identify their employers, as required by Ohio law. That law is constitutional, Judge Michael Watson said Wednesday. “The public interest is best served by allowing Ohio to acquire the identities of petition circulators and those who pay them in order to detect and deter fraud in the election process,” Watson said in his decision.
A petition gatherer who testified in the case seemed willing to follow it, so the law wouldn’t have kept him from freely expressing political speech, said Watson, a U.S. District Court judge.
The Libertarian Party of Ohio immediately asked Watson to stay his decision to allow the party to make an emergency appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The party wants Husted to hold off printing finalized ballots for the May 6 primary until the appeals court can consider its case. Early voting is currently scheduled to begin Saturday.
Full Article: Judge rules Libertarians will stay off ballot.