BOSTON - While the Republicans were celebrating their presidential nominee this week in Tampa, the Libertarians were scrambling to fend off another round of ballot access challenges across the country.
In Ohio, Johnson is facing a legal challenge from two registered voters on the grounds that Johnson obtained his ballot access by "nominating petition." Ballot Access News says this is bogus because the Libertarian Party of Ohio secured statewide access during the 2008 election.
On August 24, two Ohio voters, Kelly Mills and Cynthia Rees, filed a challenge to the placement of Gary Johnson on the Ohio general election ballot. The Ohio Libertarian Party and the Johnson campaign were not informed of this until August 31.
The basis for the challenge is that Ohio law says candidates cannot get on the general election “by nominating petition” if he or she “seeks a party nomination for an office or position at a primary by declaration of candidacy.” 3513.04. This is a frivolous challenge. Gary Johnson did not get on the general election ballot in Ohio “by nominating petition.” He is on the November ballot because the Ohio Libertarian Party has been ballot-qualified ever since 2008. People who get on the general election “by nominating petition” are independent candidates, and Gary Johnson is not an independent candidate.
To get around this problem, the objectors point out that the Libertarian Party would have got on the ballot by “nominating petition” if a court hadn’t put it on the ballot. But, the petition that would have been used to put the Libertarian Party on the ballot if it had needed one is not called a “nominating petition”; instead it is “a petition in which voters declare their intention to organize a political party.” The petition to put a party on the Ohio ballot does not list any candidates; it just mentions the party, so plainly it is not a “nominating petition.” After a newly-qualifying party in Ohio gets on the ballot, the party nominates its candidates.
The suit mentions his initial candidacy as a Republican but the problem with that argument is that he never appeared on the ballot in Ohio as a Republican.
In Michigan, Johnson's time as a Republican is the main sticking point for his ballot access issues there.
Libertarians in Pennsylvania gathered nearly twice the number of required signatures to get on the ballot there but state Republicans are still challenging their validity. Johnson's campaign faced another hurdle when they failed to obtain the proper seals for their petitions, forcing Johnson himself to fly to Pennsylvania after a campaign swing through Texas.
According to an email from the chair of the Massachusetts LP, the Johnson campaign has qualified for the ballot here after submitting over 14,000 signatures. Secretary of State William Galvin certified 11,727 of the Johnson/Gray ticket signature’s this morning and issued a receipt certifying their placement on the ballots across the Commonwealth this November.
Johnson was facing difficulties in Washington, DC, but according to sources close to his campaign those were resolved on Friday.