Ballot Access Decision in Ohio Mixed Bag for Minor Parties

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A federal judge has permanently blocked an Ohio law that required petition circulators to be state residents while upholding other limits to ballot access that the state imposed on minor political parties through a 2014 law.

U.S. District Judge Michael Watson’s ruling Wednesday upholds a law that critics dubbed the “John Kasich Re-Election Protection Act.” They said the new, stricter criteria it set up for third parties to gain and maintain ballot access were intended to help the Republican governor fend off a tea-party challenge last year.

Watson found the Libertarian Party of Ohio failed to prove the law was unconstitutional.

One issue in the long-running case remains to be resolved: Whether Libertarian candidates were improperly singled out for enforcement actions that removed them from the 2014 ballot.