The Ohio Secretary of State’s Office tells newnet5.com that it’s still unclear whether Ohio law allows for the unorthodox petition filing process used by the Libertarian Party of Ohio.
The LPO submitted 12,000 signatures for Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson to be placed on the Ohio ballot as an independent candidate for president, but the name on the petition is “Charles E. Earl.”
Earl is a former Libertarian candidate for governor. The LPO explained that signatures were collected under Earl’s name because Johnson wasn’t named as the party’s candidate until Memorial Day.
A spokesperson said that once officials certify the placeholder petition, the petition committee, the placeholder candidates, and the Johnson and Weld campaign will file the paperwork finalizing the swap.
The action is unprecedented in the state of Ohio, according to John Carroll University History Professor Michael Bowen.
“I cannot recall a campaign anywhere where this has happened before,” Bowen told newsnet5.com.
He said that candidates have only ever been swapped in the rare occurrence of a death or a legal indictment.
“And their names are taken off the ballot unexpectedly,” he said. “This is the first time I can remember that someone has filed with the explicit intention of removing them from the ballot.”
The Ohio Secretary of State’s Office said they will be investigating whether the swap is legal.
“We have received nothing from Gary Johnson,” a spokesperson said in an email to newsnet5.com. “Yesterday’s filing was to put forward Charlie Earl for Independent Candidacy for President. Our office will be working with the local boards of elections to process and verify Mr. Earl’s petitions.”
UPDATE: Richard Winger of Ballot Access News tells newsnet5.com that contrary to assertions by analysts and the Secretary of State's Office, there is a history of stand-in for presidential and vice-presidential elections.
This year, the Green Party has been using vice-presidential stand-ins in many states, because that party didn't choose its v-p nominee until August 6. Howie Hawkins was generally the stand-in.The Libertarian Party has used stand-ins for president and vice-president in many states, including Ohio, starting with the 1996 election. Before the 1996 election, the Libertarian Party had its national convention on Labor Day of the year before the election, so there was no need for stand-ins. But starting with 1996, the party didn't hold its presidential convention until the summer or the late spring of the election year, so it worked with many states, including Ohio, to permit stand-ins. The Ohio legislature amended the law in 1995 to allow stand-ins. See 3513.31(F).