Ohio Republicans Reject Legislation Allowing Biden on November Ballot

Ohio’s Republican-led Legislature has made the decision not to pass special legislation allowing President Joe Biden to be included on the state’s November general election ballot, according to Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens (R) on Tuesday.

Ohio lawmakers have been facing increasing pressure to revise a state law that enforces strict deadlines for certifying presidential candidates for the November ballot. Ohio’s current law mandates that every political party must certify their presidential candidates by August 7 in order to be included on the state’s November 5 ballot.

Nevertheless, the Democratic National Convention, where the party officially chooses its nominee, is set to take place on August 19. Without legislative action, Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, would be unable to appear on Ohio’s ballot due to this misalignment.

“This time of year, it’s a highly politicised environment,” Stephens told reporters on Tuesday, according to the Statehouse News Bureau. “There were Republicans who opposed voting on it, while others supported it.”

Other states are also grappling with similar challenges. Alabama and Washington have laws with similar deadlines that may potentially prevent Biden from appearing on their November ballots because of the timing of the Democratic National Convention.

Alabama recently passed special legislation to ensure that Biden’s name could be included on its ballot, even though the deadline had passed. According to ABC News, Washington is considering granting Biden the opportunity to appear on its ballot by accepting a provisional certification from the Democratic Party. To meet the state’s August 20 deadline, the party must submit the provisional nomination certification.

In early May, Republican lawmakers in Ohio introduced Senate Bill 92 to tackle the ballot issue. Nevertheless, this legislation contained additional amendments that did not receive enough backing from the Democratic party, including a provision that prohibits foreign nationals from making campaign contributions.

In response to the legislative impasse, Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters expressed her disappointment with Republican politicians for hindering the democratic process and preventing Ohioans from selecting their desired presidential candidate. Walters criticised Republican lawmakers for turning the process into a political game and weakening accountability.

Although legislative avenues may appear to be closed, there is still a potential administrative route for Biden’s inclusion on Ohio’s ballot. Cleveland.com explains that, if it happens, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) could make an administrative adjustment to officially designate Biden as the nominee before August 7.

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