As noted in an earlier post, on Friday, January 10, 2014, the government of Ohio appealed the January 7 order that kept Ohio’s minor parties on the ballot for the 2014 election. When Ohio filed its notice of appeal, it also asked that the Sixth Circuit expedite the appeal. The state proposed a briefing schedule that would be complete by January 24.
In response, the minor parties pointed out that the Ohio government did not request a stay of the January 7 order. If the government had requested a stay, either the U.S. District Court or the Sixth Circuit would have responded very quickly, and would either have denied the stay, or granted it. But because no stay was requested, the minor party candidates are now in the uncomfortable position of not knowing whether to finish their ongoing petitions to get on their own party’s primary ballots. If the Sixth Circuit reverses the U.S. District Court, all the minor party primaries would be cancelled, and all the primary petitioning work would have been wasted.
These petitions are not easy; statewide candidates need 500 signatures and voters who voted in another party’s primary in 2012 can’t sign. These primary petitions are due February 5. In 2012, when the four minor parties were entitled to a primary, no U.S. Senate candidate from any of the minor parties was able to obtain the needed 500 signatures (although this was partly because the petitioning period was so short, because the legislature had made a last-minute decision to move the primary from June to March).
The minor party response to the Sixth Circuit therefore asks that the Sixth Circuit not expedite the state’s appeal. But the minor parties request that if the appeal will be expedited, that the briefs all be in by January 17, not January 24, so that the uncertainty will be over that much sooner. In the Sixth Circuit, the case is Libertarian Party of Ohio v Husted, 14-3030.