U.S. District Court Will Hear Case on Who Can Qualify as an Independent Candidate in Ohio

On August 6, U.S. District Court Judge George C. Smith, a Reagan appointee, will hear Jolivette v Husted, southern district, 2:12-cv-603. Greg Jolivette submitted enough valid signatures to be on the November ballot as an independent candidate for State House, 51st district. Election officials still kept him off the ballot, because they say he was too recently a member of the Republican Party.

Ohio laws on who may qualify as an independent candidate are the vaguest laws in the U.S. Ohio does not have partisan registration. However, elections officials keep track of which party’s primary ballot a voter chooses. Jolivette did not vote in the Republican primary of March, 2012. But in 2011, he held himself out as a Republican and even started to petition onto the Republican primary ballot, but he then withdrew that Republican petition.

Ohio election law does not say an independent candidate must have had nothing to do with a political party. It just bans “sore losers”. Jolivette argues not only that he qualifies as an independent, but that in any event the law is hopelessly vague. See this story about the case. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link.


  1. Jim Riley · · Reply

    Another reason, that if Ohio does not adopt Top 2, they should adopt Texas’s system of party affiliation. It is truly ridiculous if the State is not going to have party registration to go beyond simply limiting a voter to affiliation with a single party per election year.

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