This letter is a response to the following quote from the Secretary of State’s office in your Sunday June 12 article, “Did your vote count” by Kent Mallet in the Advocate.

Secretary of State's office spokesman James Lee said, "There's a reason we have a bipartisan election system... to ensure there's no monkey business going on."

There is a general presumption in America that the Republicans and Democrats do not like each other and do not work together. This may be true of partisan activists, but not the party leadership or candidates. This idea of competition between the two parties is often dramatized by the media because, let’s face it, story conflict is interesting.

In Licking County, and in most Ohio counties, there is no real competition between the two parties. The Republican and Democrat leadership usually agree on how to carve up the state between them: who will run where, and for which offices.

In the last three years, 53 government officials throughout Licking County were elected with no opposition including a US Congressman, a State Senator, and a State Representative. In Franklin County, candidates have come forward “off the record” to admit certain offices are reserved for each party to save campaign expenses. Is this the healthy bi-partisan atmosphere the Secretary of State’s office imagines?

Many of your readers may not know that the Republicans and Democrats hold a legal monopoly on political party activity in Ohio. The Libertarian Party is on the ballot in Afghanistan, Russia, and Iraq but was barred by Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell in Ohio. Perhaps more political competition would improve Ohio’s economy, accountability, and voter turn-out.

Robert Butler
Executive Director
Libertarian Party of Ohio