U.S. District Judge Michael Watson issued a preliminary injunction
on legislation that created more stringent qualifications for
minority parties and required them to start over in the nomination
process in order to have candidates on November ballots.
Watson wrote that a number of minority party candidates have already
collected signatures, filed their nominating petitions and paid the
required fees to participate in the 2014 primary election.
The Ohio law is "patently unfair" and "the Ohio Legislature moved
the proverbial goalpost in the midst of the game," Watson wrote.
Charlie Earl, a Libertarian who plans to challenge Governor John
Kasich in November, was one of four parties challenging the lawsuit.
According to a 2013 directive from the Ohio Secretary of State,
smaller parties including the Libertarian Party of Ohio were
automatically granted access to the primary and general elections in
However, the law would have voided the parties' existing nominating
petitions and required third-party candidates to start collecting
more than 20,000 signatures by a Feb. 5 deadline.
Kasich signed the legislation in November, after it was passed by a
When Kasich defeated incumbent Governor Ted Strickland, a Democrat,
in 2010, neither candidate received more than 50 percent of the
vote, as minority party candidates captured four percent.
[to top of second column]
Ohio Democrats dubbed the legislation "The John Kasich Re-Election
Protection Act," claiming it was passed to protect the current
governor's chances in light of growing criticism from the state's
Tea Party conservatives over his expansion of Medicaid under the
Affordable Care Act.
Two Democrats are running in the primary for the right to challenge
Kasich in 2014: Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Hamilton
County Commissioner Todd Portune.
(Editing by Brendan O'Brien and
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