arrowSection 2.2 - Getting on the Ballot

This topic is monitored by Moritz Law Professor Edward B. Foley

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Nader Ballot Status in Ohio

With the backing of the Ohio Democratic Party, a lawsuit has been filed in the Franklin County Court of Common pleas in an attempt to keep Ralph Nader off of the ballot. The suit claims that there was pervasive fraud in the effort to get Nader on the ballot in Ohio. Some of the alleged wrongdoing includes forged signatures, circulators who are not registered Ohio voters, and at least one professional circulator who is a convicted felon.

The lawsuit was filed by the former head of the Ohio American Civil Liberties Union – Benson Wolman – along with Columbus attorneys John Gilligan and Donald McTigue. "All in all, thousands of signatures are invalid under the standard requirement of Ohio law designed to protect the integrity" of the process, the suit claims.

A spokesman for the secretary of state, James Lee, said that he expects the lawsuit to be dismissed. "It's not within the proper proceedings" to protest the petition," he said. "We haven’t reached the point of having a hearing to consider challenges yet."

As of September 9, Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has provisionally approved Nader to be on the ballot. A spokesman for Blackwell said that Nader can be pulled from the ballot that he is on provisionally, but could not be added to the ballot after the September 8 deadline, according to Ohio election law. The tabulations of signatures from the 88 Ohio county boards of election are not finished.

This lawsuit follows earlier bad news for the Nader camp. The Butler County Board of Elections ruled last week that only 24 of the 633 petition signatures were valid in that county. Many signatures were ruled invalid because they were not collected by registered Ohio voters. Some were thrown out because the man who collected them used the address of the hotel he was staying at on his registration form and that is not permitted under Ohio law. And 220 signatures were thrown out because the man who collected them was supposed to have collected signatures in the northern Ohio counties of Cuyahoga and Lorain on the same days as he collected them in Butler county and that was thought to be a practical impossibility.