On December 31, an earlier Ohio Secretary of State ruling on ballot-qualified parties for the 2010 election was officially promulgated to county election boards in Ohio. The ruling says that the Constitution, Green, Libertarian and Socialist Parties are ballot-qualified in Ohio in 2010. Some time ago, the Secretary of State had posted this ruling on her web page, and no one made any negative comments, or comments as to why the tentative ruling should be reversed. The comment period is now over. The ruling is now final.
The four minor parties must nominate any 2010 candidates in their own primary. Candidates for statewide office in the primary of any of these parties need 500 signatures. Candidates for district and county office need 25 signatures. Signatures are due in February. The primary is in May.
The Ohio Constitution says all ballot-qualified parties must nominate by primary. Ohio and Oklahoma are the only states that have state constitutional provisions that require all parties to nominate by primary. Most states let small or new qualified parties nominate by convention. Allowing newly qualifying parties to nominate by convention allows for later petition deadlines for new parties, and also saves tax money.
Ohio still doesn’t have any valid election law to determine which parties are ballot-qualified. The 6th circuit invalidated the old laws in 2006 and the legislature has not replaced them. One bill, HB 260, would revise the laws, but it has not passed the State Senate. There is no bill pending that would revise the State Constitutional provision about mandatory primaries for all parties. Thanks to Kevin Knedler for the news about the final status of the Secretary of State’s ruling.