I am beginning a series on third-party candidates that I like. They are not formal endorsements, but are recommendations for your consideration.
As I suggested last week, Libertarian Charlie Earl is a man who says exactly what he thinks. Think of him as the antidote to the evasive, fork-in-the-tongue politician. Think of it as a quality we really need in a Secretary of State.
The elections for statewide offices are particularly critical this year, because they will determine the makeup of the State Apportionment Board, which draws the districts that will be used in elections for the Ohio General Assembly during the next decade. Membership consists of the Governor, the State Auditor, the Secretary of State, and one member from each major party in each house of the General Assembly. Ohioans have been frustrated for years with the gerrymandering of districts to favor incumbents of one party or the other. There was an excellent proposal on the ballot in 1983 for "Fair and Impartial Redistricting," but it was complex and difficult for most people to understand, which led to its defeat.
The best chance we have this year for fair and impartial redistricting -- and to ensure that election laws are administered fairly -- is to elect a Secretary of State who is neither Democratic nor Republican. In the last twelve years, we have suffered from two very partisan Secretaries of State, a Republican who saw no conflict between his office and actively promoting his party's Presidential campaign and a Democrat whose impartiality has been called into question in her votes to break deadlocks in county Boards of Elections.
While no stranger to the Statehouse -- he was a State Representative from Bowling Green in the early 1980s -- he is not a professional politician either. He has also been an energetic campaigner, as his Facebook page will attest.
His platform consists of five planks:
1. He strongly believes that no action should be taken that violates either the United States Constitution or the Ohio Constitution.
2. On elections, I'll let Mr. Earl speak for himself (from his website): "Dedicated to enforcing free, fair and efficient elections, Charlie will strive to insure that every legal state citizen who is registered to vote can rest assured that her/his vote will be counted fairly and efficiently...and once for each election. Those who chose to willfully skirt, break or violate Ohio's registration, voting and tallying laws will be vigorously prosecuted. The right to vote is a privilege that must be cherished, honest and forcefully protected."
3. He believes that petitions for ballot access should always receive the "benefit of the doubt" in favor of the petitioner, rather than assuming that all petitions are corrupt, inadequate or incomplete.
4. As I suggested earlier, Mr. Earl, as a Libertarian, would be the swing vote on the State Apportionment Board that ensures that no backroom deals or districts protecting incumbents will prevail.
5. The Secretary of State is also responsible for the filing, registering, and licensing most businesses. Mr. Earl wants to streamline the process for small startups, and when necessary "drop the hammer" (his phrase) on enterprises who violate their contractual obligations and do harm to their customers and to the business environment in the state.
Charlie Earl is definitely an alternative worth considering.