This article's purpose is to explore and discuss a major inequality currently plaguing the realm of ballot format-the non-uniformed partisan labeling of election ballots. This will be accomplished by answering the following question: if a ballot lists partisan labels for some candidates must it list similar labels for all? This article endorses the idea that an election ballot should be fairly constructed. Governments preparing a voting ballot so its design does not significantly disadvantage any class of listed candidates seems perfectly reasonable. Despite this seemingly logical approach, some state laws provide that certain classes of candidates are entitled to preferential treatment. Moreover, when these laws are challenged, courts have responded haphazardly. Rosen v. Brown is an example of this unsettledness. In 1992, the Rosen court struck down an Ohio election law that allowed ballots to contain partisan labels for candidates who won a partisan primary, but not for those who qualified for the general election via petitions. Disregarding the Sixth Circuit Court's ruling, the Ohio legislature re-enacted section 3505.03 of the Ohio Revised Code without adopting the court's modifications. Adding to the confusion, Ohio's election officials have interpreted Rosen narrowly and discouraged any public awareness of the ruling. To round out this discussion, this article will discuss 1) Ohio's status as one of the few states that has been faced with this issue; 2) the consequences of Ohio's restrictive policy; and 3) the outlook for change.
Ballot Format: Must Candidates Be Treated Equally ,
45 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol45/iss1/6