Almost two weeks after the primary election was held in Ohio, Libertarian Party members in this state have been made to wait before spreading the good news on our election endeavors.
In the weeks leading-up to March 6, the Allen County Libertarian Party of Ohio was on a mission to bring-in as many new voters to our rolls as possible – with a key aim being garnering write-in votes for John Fockler, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied (pardon the pun) by Sherrod Brown, and Chris Kalla, pursuing Ohio’s 4th congressional seat held by Jim Jordan.
So, there you have three goals we sought to accomplish.
We are pleased to be able announce (tentatively, until the official results are certified) that two of them were met. Unofficially, Kalla has met the threshold for the number of primary write-in votes to qualify for the November 6 election. Also, 55 voters here in Allen County requested a Libertarian ballot – almost tripling the number requested in 2010.
Given that the 2010 primary was our first after regaining ballot access in spite of a less-than-reliable election administration in Columbus, that increase – while the overall numbers are modest – marks a pattern of growth we intend to continue in perpetuity. One small step for man…
Where things become comedic is regarding Fockler’s campaign. According to the interactive map of election results at the Secretary of State’s Website, he received only 407 write-in votes: that would be 93 short of the minimum to qualify for November.
There is, however, an apparent problem with the information gathering and reporting processes at the Republican-held Secretary of State’s office. Discrepancies were soon noted between what the folks in Columbus have been reporting and what various election boards are listing.
This has left officials with the Libertarian Party of Ohio no viable choice but to begin their own quest to set the record straight as much as possible before the state’s March 27 deadline for county boards of elections to certify their individual primary results.
For example, according to LPO Political Director and Central Committee member Bob Bridges, the Website map shows 47 write-in votes for Fockler in Franklin County but the board of elections there has posted a total of 267 for him.
At the same time, members of the Lucas County Libertarian Party are reporting 66 votes for Fockler while citing their local board of elections as their source. Secretary of State Jon Husted’s miracle-of-science map, on the other hand, displays an amusing 0.
Even the count for Kalla appears to be skewed as I heard direct from party leadership in Marion County that Libertarians there had written-in his name but the crew in Columbus is displaying a goose egg there as well.
All in all, Bridges informed me, consultations with county boards of elections show Fockler garnering well over 900 votes statewide.
“They should either post information that’s accurate or nothing at all,” Bridges said. “What they’re doing is presenting false information and that’s rather curious on their part.”
In the meantime, Libertarians are maintaining our holding pattern… and keeping phones handy in the event there is a need (yet again) to contact the appropriate legal counsel.
While my assessment of the Ohio Secretary of State’s office is obviously harsh, I wish to go on-record as expressing my genuine admiration and appreciation for the staff at the Allen County Board of Elections. In the time since my first run for office in 2010 and through the effort to build the local Libertarian Party, the crew at the Board of Elections has been thoroughly cordial, one-hundred-percent professional, and tremendously helpful and patient in handling both our questions and our paperwork.
If only there was a way for the gang in Columbus to channel some of that.
Chair, Allen County Libertarian Party of Ohio