A Green Township state senator, one of Ohio’s most controversial and colorful, is pushing bills that opponents say would keep the Libertarian Party candidate off the gubernatorial ballot and would lead to higher prices for electricity users. The first bill would set rules for small political parties to follow if they want their candidates to appear on Ohio ballots, after a federal appeals court struck down Ohio’s previous rules. The second would loosen the energy-efficiency and demand-management rules the state passed in 2008. Republican Sen. Bill Seitz defended both his bills Wednesday in committee hearings. Opponents will get chances to speak against the bills this fall. They’re already making their views known, though, setting the bills up for a fight. “This is the John Kasich Re-election Protection Act,” Aaron Keith Harris, a spokesman for the Libertarian Party of Ohio, said of Seitz’s political party bill.
“What’s behind all this is the fact that John Kasich has been a horrible governor, the fact that his base is very unhappy with him, that they’re looking for other alternatives. … Because he’s afraid of losing votes in 2014, he is eliminating the chances of Ohioans’ being able to vote for anybody but Democrats or Republicans.”
That bill would allow so-called “minor parties” more time to submit petitions to put candidates on the general election ballot, the primary concern of the appeals court.
Seitz would keep the requirement in previous law that parties get enough signatures to represent 1 percent of the vote from the previous gubernatorial or presidential election – about 56,000 votes for the 2014 ballot. That’s equal to or more lenient than rules in 25 other states, Seitz says.