Name Omission Leads to Disqualification of Ohio Transgender Candidate

( – A transgender candidate in Ohio was disqualified from running for the state House due to a decades-old law, WCMH reported.

Vanessa Joy, a man who now identifies as a woman, planned to run for the state House seat in Stark County in northeastern Ohio. However, after submitting the required signatures to appear on the ballot by the appropriate deadlines, Joy’s 2022 name change voided the ballot petition.

Under Ohio law, a candidate for office who legally changes his name within five years of filing must include both the new name and the former name on the ballot petitions. Since Vanessa Joy did not include both, the petition was invalidated.

The law excepts those whose names change due to marriage. Also exempted are candidates who have been previously elected to office and those who previously complied with the law.

Joy told WCMH that the petition forms did not include a space for a candidate’s former name.

Joy claimed that the law unintentionally discriminates against transgender candidates because being required to include a “dead name” is “traumatic” for transgenders.

Joy said having to include his former name on the ballot petition would be the same as having to “bring up your kid that has been killed in a horrible violent way.”

The first-time candidate decided to run for office to “break the Republican supermajority” and “push back” against the Republicans’ efforts to prevent minors from undergoing transgender treatment.

Joy wants the law to include an additional exemption for transgender candidates.

Ohio’s 33-page candidate requirement guide which outlines the rules for those seeking to run for office does not directly cite the state law on including former names on ballot petitions. Instead, it links to a 14-page document that refers potential candidates to Chapter 13 of Ohio’s Election Official Manual.

Joy told WCMH that he planned to contest the decision, claiming that the law was unevenly applied.

Unless Joy’s candidacy is approved, he would not be allowed to run as a write-in candidate in the district under Ohio law, leaving the Republican seat uncontested.

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