Ballot Access Changes for 3rd Parties in Ohio Upheld

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A state court has declared as constitutional a 2013 Ohio law that imposed stiffer criteria for minor political parties to reach and maintain ballot status.

The Libertarian Party of Ohio plans to appeal Tuesday’s decision by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge David C. Young.

Libertarians, sometimes with Greens and other minor parties, have fought the 2013 ballot changes for years. They maintain the law effectively eliminated all minor-party candidates from 2014 primary ballots and unfairly disadvantaged third parties going forward.

Young said the law changed, but didn’t erase, third-party access.

He found Libertarians failed to adequately prove that Senate Bill 193 violates the party’s equal protection rights under Ohio’s Constitution. A federal court dismissed a similar claim for lack of jurisdiction in October 2015. An appeal in that case failed.