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Federal judge: Ohio Republicans behind keeping Libertarians off ballot

Yesterday, March 20, 2014, Libertarians in Ohio have filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District challenging a U.S. District court ruling that is keeping their gubernatorial candidate, Charlie Earl, off the ballot even though he was certified to be included. The appeal includes Earl, Kevin Knedler and Aaron Harris as plaintiffs and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Gregory Felsoci as co-defendants.

One would think Republicans would be in favor of more competition as they claim to favor the free market, however that may not be the case. On Wednesday, March 19, 2014, U.S. District Judge Michael Watson commented that Ohio Republicans appear to be behind the effort to disqualify Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl from the May primary ballot. What is at dispute is to whether Earl will be on any ballot this year - May or November. Even though Earl presented enough petitions to be on the ballot and Earl was certified by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, their largest petition gatherer did not list the Libertarian Party of Ohio as his employer, which is the crux of the case. Ultimately Judge Watson ruled to keep Earl off the ballot.

During a federal case by Earl to get on the ballot, Ohio Republican Party chairman Matt Borges denied on the stand that he or the Ohio Republican Party was behind the challenge of petitions signatures. This, even though he had told reporters in February that he and the party were behind the challenge (see video).

Ironically, the complaint was filed by Libertarian Party member Greg Felsoci through law firm Zeiger, Tigges & Little, even though he is not paying the firm according to the judge and has no idea who is paying the firm. Republicans would not have been able to bring a complaint directly as they would not have standing, however a Libertarian would, so in comes Greg Felsoci. “To state the obvious, Felsoci’s testimony, as well as the other evidence in the record, supports an inference that operatives or supporters of the Ohio Republican Party orchestrated the protest that Felsoci signed,” Watson wrote in his 28-page ruling.

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