Libertarian Party of Ohio
The Libertarian Party of Ohio (LPO) is the Ohio affiliate of the Libertarian Party. The LPO is the 4th largest affiliate of the LP and the 3rd largest political party in Ohio.
Current Executive Committee
- Scott Pettigrew, Chair
- Linda Comstock, Treasurer
- Robert Coogan, Secretary
- Ann Leech, At Large
- Christopher Gill, At Large
- Tim Smyth, At Large
- Kevin Knedler, Deputy Secretary (non-voting)
- Other positions
- Tricia Sprankle, Political Director
- Harold Thomas, Deputy Political Director
- Nicholas Rodriguez, Deputy Political Director - Legislative
The Libertarian Party of Ohio (LPO) was created in 1972, led by Kay Harroff Over the years, Ohio Libertarians have been elected to a number of local offices. From the beginning, the mission of the LPO is to make an impact on the political and policy environment in Ohio. The LPO core issues have been limited government, lower taxes, and greater personal liberty.
The Libertarian Party of Ohio has successfully challenged several ballot access laws. In 2004, Ohio law provided that if a party did not receive five percent of the votes for its presidential or gubernatorial candidate in a general election, the party would need to gather signatures of voters equal to one percent of the number of votes cast for president or governor in the previous election and to file its registration petition 120 days in advance of the primary election, which equated to one year in advance of the general election in presidential election years. The LPO challenged this law on the ground that the combined requirements severely burdened their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of free association. The Sixth Circuit Court found that the Ohio law placed severe burdens on the First Amendment rights of free speech and association of the LPO, its members, and potential voters-supporters, was not narrowly tailored, and did not serve a compelling state interest. Libertarian Party of Ohio v. Blackwell, 462 F.3d 579 (6th Cir. 2006).
The Ohio Legislature did not enact new legislation following Blackwell; however, the Secretary of State issued Directive 2007-09 in an attempt to bring Ohio into compliance. The directive purported to lover the number of signatures to .5% of the number of votes cast for president or governor in the preceding general election and changed the filing deadline to 100 days before the primary. This Directive was struck down on the same First Amendment grounds as Blackwell. Libertarian Party of Ohio v.s Brunner, 567 F. Supp. 2d 1006 (S.D. Ohio 2008).
Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, issued Directive 2009-21 which recognized the LPO as well as the Ohio Green Party, the Constitution Party of Ohio, and the Socialist Party as qualified to appear in the primary and general election ballots. In January 2011, the Secretary of State issued Directive 2011-01 which reinstated 2009-21 providing ballot access for LPO and other minor parties. Then, on July 1, 2011, Governor John Kasich signed HB 194. The new law differed from the law in the Blackwell case insofar as it changed the deadline for filing signatures from 120 days to 90 days before the May primary. The LPO filed another Federal lawsuit seeking an injunction blocking enforcement of HB 194. Another win for the LPO. Libertarian Party of Ohio v. Husted No.2 11-cv-722, 2011 WL 3957259, at *6 (S.D. Ohio Sept. 7, 2011). Later, HB 194 was repealed following a voter referendum.
On Nov. 6, 2013, the Ohio Legislature passed and Gov. Kasich signed House Bill 193 which expressly voided the Secretary's prior Directives granting minor parties ballot access. SB 193 provided two methods for a minor party to obtain ballot access (achieve Minor Party Status). First, either the Gubernatorial or Presidential candidate for the party must achieve the requisite amount of votes - at least three percent of the total number of ballots cast for that office. Any party that receives adequate votes are deemed to have Party Status suitable to participate in state primary elections.
The second method requires a party to circulate a petition meeting the following standards:
- 1) The petition is signed by qualified electors equal in number to at least one percent of the total vote for governor or candidates for president and vice president in the most recent election for such office.
- 2) The petition is signed by not fewer than 500 electors in at least one-half of the total number of congressional districts.
- 3) The petition declares the petitioners' intent to organize a political party, the name which shall be stated in the declaration, and of participating in the succeeding general election held in even numbered years, that occurs more than 125 days after the date of filing.
Political parties formed by petition are deemed "new" and therefore do not have access to primary election ballots. In addition to formation petition, candidates must file nominating petitions no later than 110 days before the election.
Past Officials, Staff, and Other Contacts
- Vice Chair
- Josh Weitzman, vice chair (c. 2005)
- Jeremiah Arn, vice chair (c. 2008)
- Ann Leech, vice chair (c. 2009)
- Michael Johnston, vice chair (c 2011)
- Matt Bianco, at-large 2
- Robert Butler, executive director (c. 2005)
- Paul Conroy, at-large 1
- Robert DeBross, southwest regional chair (1977-?)
- Michael Johnston, treasurer (c. 2009)
- Elizabeth Krepp, secretary (c. 2005)
- Ann Leech, secretary (c. 2008), treasurer (c. 2005)
- Mark Noble, at-large 3
- Scott Urquhart, secretary
- Bryant Callaghan, treasurer (c 2011)
- Daryl Olthaus, secretary (c 2011)
- Bob Bridges, at-large 1 (c 2011)
- Ann Leech, at-large 2 (c 2011)
- Aaron Harris, at-large 3 (c 2011)
- October 1973 - Cleveland, Ohio
Size and Influence
2004 - 2016
1972 - 2003
|2007||(Nov) 3,605||(Nov) 541|
|Libertarian Party of Ohio|
|State Organizations of the National Libertarian Party|