OHIO REPUBLICANS CONTINUE ATTACK ON DEMOCRACY
November 1, 2013
FOR MORE INFORMATION: BOB FITRAKIS 614-374-2380 OR BOB HART 614-397-6135
In its continuing attack on the democratic rights of Ohio voters, the Republican Party has enacted new regulations that will effectively ban minor political parties, including the Green Party, from competing in Ohio’s 2014 elections.
Forced through the legislature on short notice and without any proponents, SB 193 outlaws all existing minor political parties in Ohio at the end of January, 2014 and imposes new party formation hurdles that must be met before those parties can reappear on the ballot. SB 193 kicks already qualified Green Party candidates off the ballot, prohibits Green party candidates from appearing in the May primary, cuts the fundraising ability of Green Party candidates in half, and limits the minor parties to 95 days of campaigning before the 2014 election.
“The new restrictions constitute an overt attack on the fundamental right of voters to have real choices at the ballot box and are clearly an attempt by the ruling republican party and its governor to destroy minor political parties leading up to the 2014 election” said Ohio Green Party co-chair Bob Fitrakis.
The Ohio Green Party has been a legally recognized political party since 2008, has shown increasing voter support in both elections and party registrations, has two sitting elected Green officials in Ohio, and is currently running five candidates for local offices across the state. This unprecedented outlawing of fully functional and legally compliant political parties shows the legislature’s increasing distaste for democracy and democratic institutions.
This particular attack appears to be part of the larger Republican campaign to limit or ban free and fair elections in Ohio, the first phase of which has been the overtly political, clearly illegal and blatantly unfair attempts by the Republicans to suppress voter turnout. Fitrakis noted that, “It is clear that Ohio’s republicans, who have a gerrymandered supermajority in the legislature, are afraid of competition at the ballot box, and are moving to eliminate any threat to the reelection campaign of Governor Kasich, who has one eye on the Ohio Statehouse in 2014 and one eye on the Whitehouse in 2016. Republicans appear fearful that democracy might break out in Ohio.”
The Green Party of Ohio agrees with those who see this as the “John Kasich Re-election Protection Act.”
Why are they attacking democracy now? “Republicans are aware that voters in Ohio and all across the county are demanding more third party choices at the ballot box. This dissatisfaction with Republicans and Democrats rests upon the justified belief of a majority of voters that the existing two party system is dysfunctional with the major parties putting the interests of their political party above the interests of the people” said Green Party 12th District Congressional Candidate Bob Hart. “In testimony before the legislature I challenged the bill sponsor and other republicans to justify kicking me off the 2014 ballot after I had already complied with all existing legal requirements for candidates, filed all required documents with the Board of Elections, registered with the Federal Elections Commission, and started campaigning and fundraising. No response was ever provided as the continuing republican attack on democracy in Ohio has no justification and SB 193 could never be construed as the act of a democratic body.”
Notably the new requirements and restrictions not only do not apply to either republicans or democrats but grant those major parties overt advantages over the minor parties in future elections.