Sat. May 18th, 2024

Ohio lawmakers are at odds over effort to ensure Biden appears on November ballot

By 37ci3 May8,2024

An effort to put President Joe Biden on the Ohio general election ballot stalled in the state Legislature on Wednesday, raising the prospect of legal action to address the issue.

This is the latest twist available it was usually straight movement to remove conflicts between late conventions and state election laws in the past.

This time, with their own convention scheduled for July, Republicans seem less inclined to help Democrats without something for themselves in return.

Ohio’s Republican-controlled Senate pushed the relief bill during a party-line vote Pre-Convention Deadline For Democrats to endorse Biden as their nominee — while also banning foreign contributions to the state ballot campaigns.

Adding the latter provision means the state Senate bill conflicts with the state House amendment was introduced this week and does not include such conditions. The state House version would allow Biden’s name to appear on the ballot, while giving political parties more time and flexibility to endorse presidential nominees in future elections.

After the state Senate voted on the measure Tuesday, the Republican-led state House adjourned without considering either option.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican warned Democrats last month Biden was in danger of not qualifying for the state’s November ballot because the party’s nominating convention had to be held after the Aug. 7 deadline for nominating candidates.

LaRose said the legislative amendment, passed without an emergency clause, would have to be in place by the end of the day Thursday in order to take effect by the deadline. A state House GOP spokeswoman declined to say whether a vote on the legislation had been scheduled before then. A spokesman for the state House Democratic caucus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I’ve been telling you the easiest way to do it for weeks now [ensure Biden is on the ballot] is to pass temporary legislation that fixes the deadline by which they can confirm their nominees for my office.m,” LaRose said in a statement Wednesday. “Unfortunately, the Ohio House failed to do so today, as Democrats appear to be more interested in protecting foreign billionaires who want to bankroll Ohio’s elections than in getting their presidential nominee on the ballot.”

“There is still time for the House to act with an emergency vote, and it is in the best interest of Ohio voters, as well as our ability to quickly and effectively prepare for the general election, that they find a way to do so,” he said. .

The stalemate means Democrats may have to go to court to make sure Biden is on the ballot in the swing state. Last week, Alabama’s GOP-controlled state house unanimously passed a bill to address a similar challenge for Biden in that state, and Republican Governor Kay Ivey quickly signed amendment to the law.

“Joe Biden will be on the ballot in all 50 states,” Biden campaign spokesman Charles Lutwak told NBC News. “After the election, states across the country acted in accordance with the bipartisan consensus and took the necessary steps to ensure that presidential candidates from both parties were on the ballot.”

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman suggested GOP members needed encouragement to help Biden, “because Republicans in both the House and Senate are not going to vote for a stand-alone Biden bill.”

“There are a lot of people in their districts who say, ‘I’m going to run in my district, and the one vote I got was to get Joe Biden on the ballot,'” Huffman added. I think it’s fair for us to come together and say no foreign money in Ohio elections.”

Ohio law requires presidential and vice presidential candidates to be “endorsed or nominated by the secretary of state” in one of several ways “on or before the day of the general election.” That makes Aug. 7 — 12 days before the Democratic National Convention begins in Chicago — the state’s deadline this year.

The issue has come up in previous elections in Ohio and other states, but until now it has usually been resolved without furor or fanfare. Democrats and Republicans held conventions in late August in 2012 and 2020.

Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt, who serves as senior policy adviser for democracy and voting rights in the Biden White House, said a costly legal battle is almost certain if the Legislature does not address the issue.

“The only question is whether it’s fixed cheaply or expensively or amicably or unfriendly, but it will be fixed,” Levitt said. “This is the easiest court case ever if they bring it because the law actually requires a reason to prevent someone from getting on the ballot, and Ohio doesn’t need that answer. [on who the Democratic presidential nominee is] as early as possible.”

“Even being here at this point is a little bit like a baby holding its breath,” Levitt added. “The result is inevitable. It’s just about how embarrassing it is for the baby at this time.”

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By 37ci3

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