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Ohio Libertarians Fight To Regain Minor Party Status

Gage Skidmore
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president in 2016, appeared on Ohio's ballots as an independent.

After failing to qualify candidates for the statewide ballot for the last two election cycles, Libertarians are fighting to regain their party status in Ohio. The group has filed more than 100,000 signatures to put that party designation back on the ballot.

When the Republican-controlled Ohio General Assembly changed ballot access laws in 2013, the Libertarian Party of Ohio lost its minor party status and could no longer have nominees appear on the ballot with their party name attached.

Spokesperson David Jackson says having that party name on the ballot is vital.

“So you wouldn’t know, ‘Are they trying to challenge one of the dominant candidates? Are they affiliated with somebody? Do they have a platform?’” Jackson says.

The group fought for their party status when their presidential nominee, Gary Johnson, earned more than 3 percent of the vote in 2016. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, because Johnson was listed as an independent on the ballot, it did not qualify.

The party said in 2016 that it cost too much money for them to collect signatures to petition for minor party status.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.