On March 7, at the end of the business day, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted revealed that he has removed the Libertarian Party statewide candidates from the party’s primary ballot, including the gubernatorial candidate, Charlie Earl.
Apparently the basis was that the paid petitioner who collected the signatures didn’t fill out the part of the circulator form identifying his employer.
Although Ohio permits write-in votes in primaries, the deadline for anyone to file as a declared write-in candidate for the May 4 primary was 72 days before that primary, or February 23, so it is too late for the Libertarians to find anyone else to run for Governor in their primary. The deadline had been 60 days until 2010, when it was moved to 72 days.
With no gubernatorial candidate on the November ballot, the party will lose its status as a qualified party. The law requires a vote of 2% for the party to remain on the ballot. The party plans to challenge the March 7 ruling in federal court on due process grounds. UPDATE: see this story, which provides more details.