Andrew Yang has launched a write-in campaign for the Ohio Democratic primary in March after failing to fully comply with the state’s ballot access laws.
Frank LaRose, the state’s secretary of state, said in a statement on Saturday that Yang failed to qualify for the ballot because “petition forms must be submitted complete with a statement from the candidate stating their intention to run.” The Yang campaign, “by their own admission,” LaRose said, did not do that.
Ohio law requires that candidates soliciting signatures to gain ballot access in the state must do so on so-called “part-petitions” that include a statement from the candidate soliciting the signature, the signatures and a statement from the person who gathered the signatures.
LaRose said that Yang failed to include the first part — a statement from the candidate soliciting the signatures — in the majority of their submission.
The mistake means Yang’s name will not be on the ballot in a state where 136 pledged delegates — roughly 7% of the total needed to win the nomination — will be up for grabs.
Yang called the mistake a “setback.”
“My campaign submitted nearly three times the amount of signatures needed, virtually ensuring I would be on the ballot in Ohio,” Yang said. “Nevertheless, because of a bureaucratic paperwork issue caused by an awkwardly-worded law, nearly 3,000 Ohioans’ First Amendment rights have been denied.”
He added: “As a non-politician, it’s unfathomable that this could happen, but we’re not going to let democracy be thwarted and we are thrilled that we’ve made every other ballot with ease.”
Yang said he is hopeful the write-in campaign will be successful because of his “incredible grassroots support, 400,000 donors across the country, and the fact that I have such an easily-spelled last name.”
The history of successful write-in campaigns is not long.
The most notable write-in campaign in recent history was mounted by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who successfully won the state’s 2010 general election after losing the Republican primary to Joe Miller.