Name of Charlie Earl, would-be Libertarian candidate for Ohio governor, removed from ballot

Husted says petitions filed are invalid


COLUMBUS — Charlie Earl, the would-be Libertarian candidate for Ohio governor, was removed from the ballot Friday by Secretary of State Jon Husted.

The Republican secretary of state agreed with the findings of his hearing officer, Brad Smith, in determining that petitions submitted through a pair of professional signature gatherers, independent contractors, were invalid because they did not note on the petitions who was paying them as required by state election law.

Attorney general candidate Steven R. Linnabary, a Columbus civil engineer, was also removed from the ballot. That means that no Libertarian qualified to appear on the ballot for any statewide office.

Mr. Earl, a former Republican state representative from Bowling Green, had been mentioned as a possible alternative for conservative Republicans angry with Republican Gov. John Kasich because of his successful push to expand Medicaid under the federal health care law and refusal to support an effort to make Ohio the latest right-to-work state.

Those protesting the Earl and Linnabary petitions had argued that a law firm, consultant, and other political operatives usually associated with the Democratic Party had stepped in at the last minute to put the Libertarian petitions over the top.

But Mr. Smith did not rule that signatures gathered through their help should be invalidated.

Instead it was the loss of hundreds of signatures gathered by the two professional petition circulators that dragged the petitions below the 500-signature minimum threshold needed.