Attempt to Maintain Biden’s Ballot Presence in Ohio Hits Roadblock Before Deadline



Legislation to ensure President Biden’s name appears on the Ohio ballot has been stalled, potentially leading to a protracted legal battle. Ohio was one of three states that warned the Democratic Party that Biden could be left off the ballot due to the Democratic National Convention taking place after certification deadlines. The issue has been complicated by a partisan fight over foreign donations to Ohio ballot initiatives, with Republicans proposing a bill to resolve the ballot issue but attaching a rider to ban foreign money, a move that Democrats oppose.

Ohio’s Partisan Battle Delays Biden’s Ballot Presence

President Biden’s presence on the Ohio ballot this November is in limbo due to a partisan battle among state lawmakers. This predicament could potentially result in a costly and lengthy legal battle prior to this year’s election.

Ohio is one of three states that warned the Democratic Party about possible exclusion of Biden from the ballot because of the Democratic National Convention taking place after the certification deadlines for presidential nominees. Normally a minor issue, states usually offer a speedy solution to keep major presidential candidates on the ballot.

Alabama, for instance, resolved the issue quickly last week, when its State Legislature passed a law extending the deadline, accommodating the late date of the Democratic convention. Washington State also indicated that it would accept a provisional certification of Biden’s nomination.

Stalled Legislation in Ohio

A proposal similar to Alabama’s law was put forward in Ohio’s Republican-majority General Assembly, but failed to progress prior to the deadline set by Frank LaRose, the Republican secretary of state. Despite the stall, LaRose suggested that the legislature could still address the issue with an emergency vote.

Republicans in the Ohio Senate progressed a bill on Wednesday to address the issue, but attached a rider banning foreign money in state ballot initiatives, to the dismay of Senate Democrats. As a result, the legislature adjourned without a solution in place.

Despite these issues, a Biden campaign spokesman asserted that Biden would be on all 50 state ballots.

The Core of the Issue

The core of this issue is a partisan dispute in Ohio over foreign national donations supporting ballot initiatives, which Republicans in the state believe led to the approval of a constitutional amendment enshrining access to abortion last year. Republicans in Ohio have stated that the ban on foreign donations is the price Democrats will have to pay to ensure Biden is on the state’s ballot.

“Democrats would rather protect Hansjörg Wyss than get Joe Biden on the statewide ballot,” said LaRose, Ohio’s secretary of state, who initially alerted Democrats of the deadline issue.

According to Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a law professor at Stetson University specializing in election law, the Biden campaign could sue the state to get Biden on the ballot.

If Ohio bars Biden, she suggests, “the Supreme Court should order him back on the ballot just like it did with Trump in Colorado.” However, the Biden campaign may face a prolonged legal battle to ensure the president is on the ballot in all 50 states.

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