Ohio Governor Mike DeWine told Cleveland.com’s editorial board on Tuesday night that the board of elections should stop disqualifying trans candidates for not including their former names on the ballot.
Earlier this month, several transgender candidates in Ohio were disqualified from running for state office after omitting their former names from the petition paperwork ― thanks to a little-known law that requires anyone running for public office to disclose any names they’ve used in the past five years.
After former candidate Vanessa Joy told News 5 Clevelandthat she was removed from the ballot for not putting her “deadname” on the petition, two other candidates were also told by the board of elections that their petitions are being challenged or disqualified.
A total of four transgender candidates are running for Democratic seats in the Republican-controlled House and Senate, citing the state’s rising anti-LGBTQ legislation as their reasons for entering the race.
But Joy, and other candidates, said they were not aware of this 1995 state law, which does not appear anywhere in the 33-page candidate requirement guide.
Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose told The Associated Press last week that he isn’t open to changing the law and that it is important for candidates to disclose their former identities.
“Candidates for public office don’t get anonymity,” he told AP.
DeWine’s press secretary told HuffPost via email that the governor believes the law should not be changed, but that it should also not disqualify candidates.
DeWine’s comments come after he recently issued an executive order banning gender-affirming surgeries for trans youth; placing new and burdensome administrative rules for trans youth and adults seeking transition care in the state; and after he was celebrated for vetoing HB 68, a bill that bars trans youth from accessing care like hormone replacement therapy and puberty blockers.