Local/Municipal/State Date: 04.03.09 Elected Offices ~ Authored By: William McDowall Libertarian CandidateChair, Candidates andCampaign Committee Guide and Filing Procedures
Forward Page 2 Forward affiliation played a large role in his vote tally. What are the Benefits of Running as a Libertarian and Why is the Endorsement of Candidates and Campaign Committee the Libertarian Party of Ohio Important? Endorsed candidates have at their disposal In years that the Libertarian Party has ballot the efforts of the Candidates and Campaign access, anyone declaring themselves Committee to assist them in the paperwork ‘Libertarian’ can run for office. Running as a and filings needed to make valid a candidacy Libertarian does not necessarily mean an before filing deadlines. This committee can automatic Party endorsement. The steps to acquire voter lists and arrange them in a Party endorsement are simple to follow, but sensible form to ease the pressure of nonetheless important. In short, the signature gathering. Endorsed candidates can Candidates and Campaign Committee issues also work through the Candidates and a recommendation to the Executive Campaign Committee to get specific answers Committee who, in turn, vote on candidate to questions directed to the Ohio Secretary of endorsement. Especially in years of ballot State. While some of this research can be access, it is fair to wonder why this done by the candidate without the Party, it is endorsement procedure is important to a important that duties unrelated to ‘getting candidacy. votes’ be farmed out to the Party, volunteers, and to campaign officers whenever possible. A Built In Voting Block – Even candidates Party endorsement affords this extra layer of who do not have the resources to run large support. campaigns can count on a certain amount of votes from persons who identify with the Strategic Targeting Committee Libertarian Party. In 2008, Congressional After an endorsed candidate has filed with Candidate Mark Noble received over 14,400 the Board of Elections and the filing votes in his Congressional District although deadlines for competing candidates have he was shut out from televised debates and passed, the endorsed candidate may work radio broadcasts profiling the candidates. with the Strategic Targeting Committee to Mark Noble received more votes than the refine their campaign. This committee will Independent candidate Don Eckhart who was assist in doing opposition research, evaluate permitted to participate in all the above the minutes of council meetings, and provide mentioned media events. Mark Noble did not an environment to strengthen the campaign. personally meet 14,400 people to ask them This committee can even provide mock- for their votes. His identifiable party debates (complete with cameras, podiums,
Page 3 Forward etc) and mock-newspaper interviews to each election to spend on efforts to elect prepare candidates for media attention. endorsed Libertarians. This budget is based Candidates may also be advised on solely on incoming contributions, and as presentation and appearance issues. Libertarians, we do not spend money we do Campaign managers will find the efforts of not already have. The amount that the this committee infinitely valuable. L.P.O. can contribute to campaigns varies widely. However, the Candidate and Field Development and Volunteer Efforts Campaign Committee will contribute to During the course of a campaign, a endorsed candidates and will seek to empty candidate will have a need for volunteers. its accounts in this effort each election In many regions of Ohio, Field season. Development teams exist that can help in Lastly, an endorsed candidate may volunteer recruitment. The L.P.O. has a coordinate through the L.P.O. Treasurer Field Liaison in each quadrant of Ohio as limited access to donor lists. Donors to the well as a College outreach program and L.P.O. who live within a candidate’s even a Women’s Caucus that a candidate municipality may well be pleased to may find useful in their campaigning contribute to a local candidate. Donor lists efforts. also include other persons who may be able Website Development to provide volunteer resources (printing capability, rental tents for parties, food While this is a new directive currently products for fundraisers….) that help under development, the L.P.O. hopes to candidacies in ways not measured in dollars provide each candidate with a basic website and cents. and biography page upon endorsement. Many candidates may have taken on web If a Libertarian seeking office does not development in-house with elaborate pages seek the Party’s nomination, much, if not that include contribution opportunities and all, of these resources may be withheld. interactive features. However, in smaller Even endorsed Independents might not be races, a basic page may be all that is granted complete and total access to the required to maintain a ‘web presence’. resources listed above. To ensure access to the benefits of Party endorsement, join the Financial Assistance Libertarian Party ~ take ‘The Pledge’ A candidate for office should have a online, and we’ll team up on the campaign framework in place for their own trail! fundraising. The L.P.O. has a certain budget
Table of Contents Page 4 Table of Contents 5 - Introduction 6 - The Decision Process 8 - Self Examination 10 - Evaluating the Political Landscape 11 - The Ohio Secretary of State Website 12 - The County Board of Elections 13 - Condensed Instructions for Local/Municipal Libertarian Candidacy 15 - Continuing Commitment and Your Future in the Party 16 - Conclusion
Page 5 Introduction Introduction access is a problem that the L.P.O. deals with yearly. However, whether the L.P.O. has This document is intended for the use of ballot access or not has little bearing on the Libertarians running for public office in a actions of a well run campaign. Freedom of local election. The term ‘local’ is described as speech gives candidates the right to brand a partisan or non-partisan race for an office themselves in any way they wish in that governs at the township, city, or county campaigning efforts. A candidate’s hand level. Examples of these offices include: bills, yard signs, mailings, banners, flags, - Township Trustee refrigerator magnets…etc. may have the word ‘Libertarian’ printed on them in any manner - Fiscal Officer the candidate sees fit. Even in non-partisan - Village Trustee races, campaign information may be used that blatantly brands the candidate as a - Village Administrator Libertarian. (This tactic may or may not be a - City Council good idea and candidates should consult with their campaign managers, as different races - President of City Council may dictate different strategies) - Mayor Lastly, a candidate should have an - County Commissioner understanding of what it takes to win. While there is genuine and legitimate value to Libertarian candidates for General Assembly ‘paper’ candidacies, this manual is intended as well as statewide office (Attorney General, to enhance the efforts of plausible candidates Treasurer, Governor…etc.) are welcome to that intend to win their races. The advice and use this handbook, but may find some instruction in this manual is by no means the sections lacking in detail concerning the only way to successfully run a local complexities of their campaigns as compared campaign, but attention should be paid to the to local races. A candidate handbook for timelines described and the processes those seeking General Assembly and outlined. A passage containing information statewide office is forthcoming. that is believed to be of high importance to The L.P.O. (Libertarian Party of Ohio) has most any Libertarian candidate for local ‘ballot access’ though the elections of 2010. office will appear in bold italic font as can Ballot access is defined as the right to list be seen here. ‘Libertarian’ beneath the name of the candidate on a voter ballot. Getting ballot
The Decision Process Page 6 The Decision Process holders to maintain a ‘day job’. If the office holder is employed by an engineering firm,The first step in a candidacy is deciding for a construction firm, an architect or similarwhat office to run. While this may seem vocation, that office holder may have toobvious, there is more to it than one might recuse themselves frequently from contractimagine. A candidate should visit the negotiations on improvement projects ifmunicipality’s website and determine the their firm is active in bidding for these jobs.structure of local government as dictated by Similarly, candidates in the computerthe adopted charter. Some municipalities industry may experience comparable issueshave a city council form of government. In if the municipality seeks to improve theirothers, a city manager is the senior elected data systems and holds open bidding forofficial. If a candidate has the experience these contracts. Correspondingly, most ofand political drive to become Mayor, a Ohio’s public schools do not permitcandidate should be sure that the Mayor is, teachers to serve on an elected school board.in fact, the top elected official. For example, To summarize, a candidate must determinein Marion, Ohio, the City Council President if their business dealings will undulyis the top elected official. In Mason, Ohio, hinder their career in public office.City Council elects a Mayor from amongstthe elected board members, but the position The next step is to review thecarries no weight over and above that of a municipality’s ordinance dictating therank and file council member. requirements of the position. Some candidates may wish to run for Mayor. ThisOf equal importance, a candidate should position in smaller communities isevaluate whether an existing or recent occasionally won in unopposed elections.career lies in conflict with the required However, it must be noted that certainactions of elected office. Each Libertarian prestigious positions in local government docandidate aims to implement the Libertarian not pay well in comparison to private sectorgoverning ideals of smaller government, jobs. Also, candidates should note the daysfiscal responsibility and social tolerance. that the office holder must be physicallyThese ideals cannot be pressed if the office present in office and on which evenings theholder has to recuse himself or herself from official must be available for meetings orkey votes stemming from conflicts of other events. Prospective candidates mustinterest. For example, many local level evaluate which position they wish to run forpublic offices are part time positions and based on their availability to perform themeet only in the evening allowing the office duties of the office.
Page 7 The Decision Process Additionally, residency requirements must be met for elected positions. Obviously, a candidate must reside within the governing municipality, but attention must be paid to ward and precinct designations as these lines are occasionally redrawn based on census information and political pressures. Local boards of elections should not be relied upon to make these designations known to candidates. A savvy campaign manager may well end an opposing candidacy citing errant filing technicalities.
Self Examination Page 8 Self Examination With the possible exception of Mayor, all local public offices can be won with no Most every person that contacts the L.P.O. political experience. The question with an interest in running in a local becomes, ‘How plausible are my chances?’ election is qualified to hold office. Libertarians that decide to become Voters value prior public service. candidates are concerned citizens that are President Barack Obama was elected in willing to offer up their record for public 2008 touting his record of civic scrutiny. One does not need to be an involvement as a community organizer. No attorney or hold a Master’s Degree in one elected Mr. Obama to the post of Political Science to run successfully in a community organizer. It can be argued that local election. In even the smallest of Senator McCain served people he Ohio’s communities, municipal websites represented better than President Obama, list detailed biographies of current but it is inarguable that Senator McCain officeholders. College graduates are in the never had his political fate dictated by his minority of some City Councils. The ratio ability to organize at the grassroots level. is even lower at the township level. All Libertarian candidates are urged to Regardless of education level or prior prepare themselves for office by building political experience, all successful the plausibility of their candidacy through officeholders have one thing in common: actions and associations. Many people are commitment to community involvement. surprised to learn how many civic positions That is not to say that a young professional are available simply by visiting a website Libertarian with an impressive education and signing up for consideration. Some of could not win a local election with a well these opportunities include: conceived campaign message, significant - Joining the local homeowner’s door-to-door work, and some money, but association that person would be vulnerable to a retired community businessperson who was a - Applying to be an alternate to the member of the local chamber of commerce, local zoning review committee serve on the P.T.A., was appointed to the - Joining the P.T.A. local zoning appeals board, is active in their church, and acts as vice-president of - Applying to be an ‘Area Coalition’ their homeowner’s association. board member
Page 9 Self Examination - Volunteering at the Red Cross, United Way or other charitable organization - Joining the area Chamber of Commerce - Volunteering for a faith-based position - Volunteering for the local Youth Booster Association - And many more… While a candidate might be professionally qualified for a public office, taking these community involvement steps enhances ones plausibility factor.
Evaluating the Political Environment Page 10 Evaluating the Political EnvironmentOnce a candidate has determined the officethey wish to hold, investigate the availabilityof the office for election. If one is runningfor city council, all members may be electedsimultaneously or on a staggered electionschedule. It is prudent to investigate thepolitical ‘lay of the land’.For instance, if a candidate wishes to serveas representing City Ward 3 and the currentoffice holder as been serving for many yearsand winning elections by sizable margins,the candidate may decide to run at-large.Conversely, a well-entrenched office holdermay well run unopposed. This situation canset up as an exciting and opportunistic wayto place a very different choice in front ofvoters. Candidates are encouraged to stay intouch with the local Board of Elections toremain aware of how many othercandidates have filed to run for office andthe political party to which they belong.Appraising the competition early may wellmake the difference in the outcome of a race.Candidates should evaluate honestly thelikelihood of winning the race before filingfor candidacy and should be prepared toadjust their plans to take advantage of thecompetition.
Page 11 Evaluating the Political Environment The Ohio Secretary of State’s Website Ohio Secretary of State’s website should be visited and evaluated even before filing at the Aside from a candidate’s campaign website, local Board of Elections. the website of the Ohio Secretary of State will be the most important tool to a Additionally, candidates are to read the candidacy. It is important in that the website entire section called “Frequently Asked lists specific instructions as well as resources Questions”, found here: for candidates. http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/Upload/ Before a candidate accepts any campaign candidates/CFGuide/chapters/16FAQs08- funds or buys a single campaign related item, 06.pdf a Campaign Treasurer must be named. A This section covers questions that many candidate’s Campaign Treasurer must be persons ask in their effort to comply with above reproach. Many books that advise election financing law. candidates running for office suggest naming a reputable person from another political Lastly, the downloadable forms that are party. A candidate should treat this decision necessary in filing with the Ohio Secretary as the most important personnel of State are found here: pronouncement they will make before taking http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/Campaign% office. 20Finance/CFForms.aspx Candidates must download the Campaign As elections pass, different Ohio Secretaries Finance instructions for candidates from the of State will revise their websites. If the links Ohio Secretary of State’s website. As of listed above are unavailable, contact the April, 2009, that link is: Libertarian Party Chair of the Candidates and http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/Upload/ Campaigns Committee or the Ohio Secretary candidates/CFGuide/ of State’s office directly to procure forms or chapters/02Candidates08-06.pdf instructions on filing. This instructional text covers campaign http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/ financing laws, fund raiser reporting, publications/election/CRG09.pdf corporate contributions and many other important documents. Special attention must be paid to text detailing contribution limits. Once a candidate has determined that they will run for office in the next election, the
County Board of Elections Page 12 County Board of Elections On the Ohio Secretary of State’s Website, there are downloadable lists of voterThe candidate petition is a critical form. records arranged by county. This is a mostThis document is available at the county valuable tool for a Libertarian running forBoards of Elections. The candidate will local/municipal office. A candidate shouldcirculate this petition door-to-door seeking download the appropriate county file tosignatures from registered voters. This is their computer.an excellent opportunity for candidates tointroduce themselves to their communities. Special instructions of note that are fully detailed in the “Ohio CandidateHow many signatures required for a Requirement Guide” brochure:candidate to appear on the ballot variesbased on whether the candidate is permitted - Only an unaffiliated voter or ato run as a Libertarian or is forced to run as candidate can circulate a candidatean Independent. At present, the Libertarian petition for a Libertarian.Party enjoys ballot access and the required - A candidate may not sign their ownnumber of signatures is fewer than that of petition.Independent candidates. Candidates must besure to procure the correct candidate - If a petitioner knowingly allows apetition form from the county Board of person to sign the petition who isElections. ineligible, the entire petition is rejected.Very close attention must be paid to the - No more than three times (3x) theinstructions describing the process for amount of required signatures will becompleting candidate petitions. Those accepted.instructions can be found on the Ohio Please be aware that Boards of Elections areSecretary of State’s website here: controlled by Republicans and Democrats.http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/ Opposing party officials will take everypublications/election/CRG09.pdf opportunity to scrutinize Libertarian candidate petitions. Be thorough andPlease note the various nuances to patient with filing procedures. Also,petitioning law found on the above coordinate your efforts with the Candidatesmentioned pages. Non-compliance can and Campaign Committee Chairman toabruptly end a candidacy. remain abreast of current laws governing petitioning.
Page 13 County Board of Elections Condensed Instructions for Local/ 6. Visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s Municipal Libertarian Candidacy website and download/print the Campaign Finance instructions for 1. Read the Introduction to this manual candidates running for office in Ohio. and understand the terminology Name a Campaign Treasurer. Read ‘ballot access’ the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ 2. Decide for which office to run. section of the ‘Candidate Finance Determine if this position lies in Guide’ of this website. Download the professional conflict with a current appropriate forms for Campaign career. Finance from this website and follow filing instructions closely, 3. Read the municipal ordinance particularly the form for ‘Designation describing the expectations of the of Treasurer’. Do not accept monies targeted political office. Be sure that in any form, from any source, until availability, residence, and other these documents have been reviewed basic requirements are met. and filed. 4. Perform a self-examination regarding 7. Procure a Candidate Petition from the the plausibility of candidacy. All County Board of Elections. Be sure candidates will be evaluated for to take the appropriate form (Partisan endorsement first by the Candidates or Independent) based on Libertarian and Campaign Committee and then Party ballot access status. Taking the by the Executive Committee of the wrong form may result in a candidate Libertarian Party of Ohio. Civic having to re-gather signatures to involvement and community correct a filing error. activeness will be an ever increasing criterion. 8. Download the appropriate county voter list from the Ohio Secretary of 5. Perform ‘due diligence’ on the public State’s website. Arrange voters by position desired. Determine the year street within the residential that the office is up for election. boundaries of the elected office to Review the election results from allow for easy signature gathering. previous races. Coordinate with the Gather up to three times (3X) the Candidates and Campaign Committee amount of signatures required. for guidance and useful research in Carefully follow the instructions on evaluating the political environment.
Condensed Instructions Page 14 the petition regarding the procedure for signature gathering. Fill out each Declaration of Candidacy Statement and Circulator Affidavit clearly and with attention to detail. 9. Return the Candidate Petition to the County Board of Elections. 10. Join the Libertarian Party. Membership to the Party will greatly enhance a candidate’s chance for Party endorsement. Refusal to join the Libertarian Party will place significant constraints upon the Party’s ability to endorse. Although it is not impossible for a non-Party member to secure an endorsement from the L.P.O., membership in the Libertarian Party should be a paramount concern of any candidate actively seeking endorsement.
Continuing Commitment Page 15 Continuing Commitment WWW.LPO.ORG for more information. For as little as $17.76 per month (the Spreading Liberty as well as upholding the average cost of a Music CD or download) Party platform of ‘Lower Taxes, Less you will become the shoulders on which Government, More Freedom’ is the duty of future officeholders will stand while all Libertarians. The best way to accomplish helping yourself in the process. this is to work for permanent ballot access and elect Libertarian candidates to office. Your Future in the Party Libertarians winning elected office is the When you are elected to office, it is mechanism that will change Ohio and assumed that you will uphold Libertarian America. ideals during your time of public service. While we are not currently operating on the After retirement, or in the unfortunate event same monetary scale as major political you are not successful in an election, your parties, our efforts demand certain expenses journey within the L.P.O. will be just be paid. Maintaining a modest state office, beginning. conferences, candidate contributions and Candidates with election experience are a legal fees to combat those who would deny precious commodity and former candidates us the right to participate in free and open will be relied upon to fill leadership roles elections cost money. within the Party to further the cause of As a candidate, it is proper and appropriate freedom. The L.P.O. has a perpetual need to donate to the State Party to ensure the for field representatives, CDC’s (County L.P.O. can continue the crusade for these Development Coordinators) and committee issues that we all hold dear for years to chairs. come. As a Party, we are blessed with many It is important to understand that being an individuals that give of their time tirelessly endorsed candidate in the Libertarian Party and are always ‘on-call’ for candidates and of Ohio is but a step in your journey to committee members. Dedicated manpower spread Liberty and lay the groundwork for is the L.P.O.’s greatest asset. However, others to do the same. without reliable income, our efforts suffer at the ballot box. Party officers take this issue very seriously. Becoming a Libertarian candidate for The L.P.O. asks that candidates give to the office is synonymous with a committed State Party by making a meager financial declaration of continuing Party commitment. Please go to involvement and participation.
Page 16 Condensed Instructions Conclusion 4. Have you contemplated that you may well have to stand up to public As Libertarians, the Candidate and scrutiny or opposition research from Campaign Committee does not conduct other candidates? Are you background checks over and above what a comfortable with taking political jabs candidate mentions during an interview. A from opponents? member of the Candidate and Campaign Committee and/or Field Development will 5. Have you researched the current make every effort to meet and interview political situation enough to get an persons wishing to run for office. At this idea of your chances of winning? time, no written application seeking the 6. Have you been an active attendee at endorsement of the Party is required; civic meetings or other events to however furnishing an L.P.O. officer with a show your concern for local written request for Party endorsement along government? with a narrative detailing positions, personal goals and experience is helpful. 7. What civic organizations are you active in? Candidates seeking the Party’s endorsement should prepare themselves for an interview 8. What do you think will be your by an L.P.O. officer. Many questions will be primary source of campaign funding? asked so that the L.P.O. officer gets a feeling 9. Aside from an endorsement and on where a potential candidate stands on money, what do you want from the issues. Some questions that might be asked L.P.O. in terms of support? are listed below. 10. Are you a Libertarian Party Remember, candidate interviews are not member? interrogations and are frequently informal meetings allowing everyone to get At this time, no formal application seeking acquainted to discuss the road ahead. the endorsement of the Party is required. However, there is a form that has 1. Do you have any experience in local been made available to County government? Your Treasurer? Development Groups and the Field 2. Have you selected a campaign Development team so that they can pass manager? Their experience? along your interest and basic information to the Candidate Review Committee. 3. What is your current vocation?