Ohio Secretary of State Blocks Independent Candidate for the Legislature

On June 26, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted ruled that Gregory Jolivette cannot be an independent candidate for the legislature, even though he submitted enough valid signatures to run for the 51st State House seat. See this story.

Ohio does not have registration by party, but election officials do keep a record of which party’s primary ballot a voter chooses. Ohio law is vague about who can be an independent candidate. Section 3513.04 only bans people who were defeated in a party primary from being an independent candidate. But by tradition, Ohio election officials have expanded that ban, and regularly block people on the basis that they have recently voted in a party primary, or recently were on a political party committee.

As the story reveals, the Secretary of State used personal details about Jolivette’s political activity to justify preventing him from being an independent candidate. Jolivette may sue, although the precedents on this issue in Ohio state court are not very favorable.

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