Mar 29 2012

Ohio Senate Passes Bill that Moves New Party Petition Deadline Back to November of Year Before Election

Source: Ballot Access News

On March 28, the Ohio Senate passed SB 295 by 23-10. It repeals last year’s omnibus election law. Last year’s omnibus election law had moved the petition deadline for newly-qualifying parties from 120 days, to 90 days, before the primary. That was the 2011 session’s attempt to create a constitutional deadline for newly-qualifying parties.

If the Ohio House also passes SB 295, then the petition deadline will move back to the same date (November of the year before the election) that was held unconstitutional in 2006 by the 6th Circuit, as least for presidential election years. Ohio holds its primary for all office in early March in presidential years, and in early May in midterm years.

The Republican majority in the Senate passed the bill, repealing the 2011 omnibus election law, because if they don’t repeal it, the voters will have an opportunity to vote on it, and the voters will probably repeal it. The majority in the Senate would prefer to simply cancel that popular vote. The reason the 2011 law was put up for a referendum vote in November 2012 is that the omnibus election law has lots of controversial features that Democrats and labor unions vociferously oppose. Democrats and labor together did the difficult work of gathering the referendum signatures. Ironically, now the Democrats in the legislature want to leave that referendum on the November 2012 ballot, because they expect to win the vote; and Republicans would rather just cancel the referendum vote.

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