On January 7, U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Watson ruled that due process requires that Ohio not implement its new ballot access barriers for minor parties for the 2014 election. The 28-page opinion depends on the fact that the Ohio legislature did not pass the new requirements until November 2013, after various candidates of the minor parties had already been circulating petitions to place themselves on their own party’s primary ballot. The case is Libertarian Party of Ohio v Husted, southern district, 2:13cv-953.
The decision also depends on the fact that the new law doesn’t take effect until February 2014. The Republican majority in the legislature wanted the new requirements to take effect immediately, but the bill would have needed 60% in each House of the legislature to take effect immediately, and because some Republican legislators voted against the bill, the bill did not pass with 60% in the State House.
The decision says, “The Ohio Legislature moved the proverbial goalpost in the midst of the game. Stripping the Plaintiffs of the opportunity to participate in the 2014 primary in these circumstances would be patently unfair.”