A friend recently asked me about Libertarians on the ballot in my home state of Ohio for Election Day.
Short answer: strictly speaking, there are no Libertarians on the ballot in Ohio.
However, The Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, is on the ballot in Ohio, but with no party label.
Why? Because Ohio Republicans, at the behest of John Kasich, banned the Libertarian Party from taking part in Ohio elections with SB 193, passed in 2013. You can read a decent summary of what this means from the Cleveland Plain Dealer here.
All GOP members of the statehouse voted for the bill, except for State Sen. Kevin Bacon (yes, that is his real name). No Democrats voted for the bill. The state representative from my district, Rick Perales, told me personally while I was at the Statehouse testifying against SB 193 that he knew it was a bad bill, but that he had to submit to the Republican leadership. That kind of cowardice and corruption is unacceptable—don’t reward it with your vote.
To get Gary on the ballot in Ohio without the Libertarian designation, he needed 5,000 signatures. The Libertarian Party of Ohio gathered 12,000. Because of this time-consuming and very costly effort, the LPO had no resources left to get any of its other candidates on the ballot as independents.
Therefore, my personal advice to any Ohio voter this year is to vote for Gary Johnson for president, and to vote against any and all Republicans on the ballot. Of course, I strongly recommend voting against all Democrats as well. That leaves you with three options:
1) Vote for the challengers. If there is any candidate on your ballot other than a D or an R, including a Green Party candidate, I would encourage you to consider voting for him. The only such candidate I know of and do endorse is Bob Fitrakis for Franklin County (Columbus) prosecutor. I do NOT endorse Scott Rupert in the US Senate race.
2) Write in another candidate. I wrote in John Fockler, the banned Libertarian candidate, for US Senate, and myself for US Congress in the 10th District, because I would have run if allowed by law.
And, of course, I recommend voting NO on any and all tax levies and/or bond issues for any local government, school district, or other entity. Doing so is like giving your kids another credit card after they have already maxed out five other credit cards. If what these politicians want is so important, tell them to cut something else.
I should also note here that the national Libertarian Party is not being entirely truthful when it claims that the LP is “on the ballot” in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia. It is not. The national Libertarian Party did help the LPO get Gary Johnson on the ballot in Ohio, but it has flatly refused—so far—to offer any support or assistance—financial or otherwise—to help the LPO regain ballot access for the LP in Ohio.