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Ohio


Ohio Democrats say new minor party rules are a GOP way to block competition
And Libertarians are promising a lawsuit
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
Democrats say the billl limiting minor parties is to ensure Gov. Kasich's re-election. Republicans say it's to ensure fairness.
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In The Region:

A bill that would put new rules on minor party candidates is on its way to Gov. John Kasich’s desk – and perhaps to court. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports the bill passed the House less than two weeks after passing the Senate.

LISTEN: Tighter rules on minor parties (short)

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LISTEN: Tighter rules on minor parties (extended)

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The measure would require minor parties to gather signatures equal to 1 percent of the vote in the most recent election for governor or president, and that a minor party must get at least 2 percent of that total vote to qualify for future ballots. Republican Speaker Pro Tem Matt Huffman says, because there’s no law on minor parties, the bill is needed. 

“The purpose of the party labels is to inform the voter. (Under) … the current scheme, there’s an opportunityreally to misinform the voter. And that’s why rules of this kind are very important.”

A way to stop tea partiers from looking elsewhere?
But Democrats such as Kathleen Clyde of Kent are suspicious of the bill’s timing, since it would be in place for a gubernatorial election in which Tea Party activists have promised to consider candidates other than the incumbent Republican governor. 
“I stand today to oppose the John Kasich Re-election Protection Act.  These campaigns are already underway. Minor party candidates have filed.”

Republican Jim Buchy of Greenville in western Ohio says there was no reason to assume that politics is playing a role in this proposal. 

More democracy, not less
“Why you want to make a political statement is fine. But the fact is, what we’re doing in the legislation is creating law that speaks to minority parties. That’s what we’re doing, so that everybody understands what it takes to be a minority party.”

But Democrat Mike Curtin of Columbus says voters might well be suspicious of anyone who supports this measure. 

“The central question is, how self-interested do we want to be as the two major parties? And I would say that in the better part of our history, we were for more democracy and not less democracy.”

The Libertarian Party of Ohio has promised an immediate lawsuit over the bill, which Liberatarians say prevents them from campaigning until just 95 days before an election, while allowing the major parties to campaign almost indefinitely. 

 

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