State of Ohio

Ohio 2022 Primary Election Challenge

Ames v. LaRose

Lawsuit filed by Brian M. Ames — a Republican candidate for the 28th District State Central Committeeman — against multiple Ohio election officials challenging aspects of the state’s 2022 primary election schedule. On May 3, 2022, Ohio held its first round of primary elections for its gubernatorial and U.S. House and Senate races but, due to legislative redistricting litigation, the primary elections for legislative seats were delayed until Aug. 2, 2022. The plaintiff seeks an order from the Ohio Supreme Court requiring the state’s chief election official, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R), to direct county boards of elections to prohibit voters in the upcoming Aug. 2 primary from requesting a ballot for a different party’s primary from the one in which they voted during the state’s May primary. Ohio law provides for open primaries, meaning that voters do not have to register with a particular political party in order to participate in its primary. The plaintiff contends the fact that “legally qualified candidates were severed the May 3 primary ballot does not create a clear legal right for electors who did not vote a party’s ballot in the May 3 election to vote it in the August 2 election.” In other words, the plaintiff asserts that because the Aug. 2 primary is merely a continuation of the May 3 primary, and not a “second primary,” voters should not be able to vote in a different party’s primary.

On Aug. 11, the court issued an opinion denying the plaintiff’s request that the secretary of state “challenge” and disqualify voters who requested a ballot for a party other than the one for which they voted in the May 3 primary election. The court denied the plaintiff’s claims against LaRose as moot, since the primary election already passed. As to the plaintiff’s claims against the other election officials in the case, the court ruled that the plaintiff “failed to demonstrate a clear legal right to the relief he seeks.”

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