Amici Curiae Brief for Libertarian Party of Ohio and the Center for Competitive Democracy in Support of Respondents

Amici Curiae Brief for Libertarian Party of Ohio and the Center for Competitive Democracy in Support of Respondents

September 22, 2017
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SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT

Like many states, Ohio has engineered its laws and practices to protect its two-party system. Ballot access laws make it extremely costly and difficult for minor political parties and minor candidates to win space on Ohio’s ballots. Because of Ohio’s restrictive access laws and mechanisms, even minor parties in Ohio that are capable of achieving ballot access are often stripped of their status. They must begin the whole process anew. This is precisely what has happened to the LPO.

When minor parties and their candidates are removed from ballots, their supporters do not simply turn their allegiance to the major parties. Instead, they frequently stay home. They choose not to vote. Data both nationally and in Ohio support this fact. Ballots without minor candidates experience lower voter turnouts, especially when the excluded political parties and candidates are the third most popular in the state (as is true of the LPO). This is because supporters of those alternative political parties do not vote. Consequently, Ohio’s use of non-voting to trigger removal of voters from its ballots not only infringes the constitutional right not to vote, it effectively discriminates against disaffected voters, including those who support alter- native political parties.

 

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