Ohio legislative leaders say Biden ballot fix won’t happen through lawmakers

Credit: NYT

Credit: NYT

Ohio lawmakers are confident President Joe Biden will be on the November ballot, but how exactly that will happen remains the question. The fix won’t happen through the legislature, said Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens, R-Kitts Hill, and Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington, during separate gaggles Tuesday morning.

“There’s just not the will to do that from the legislature,” Stephens said.

Russo said she was skeptical the fix was ever going to happen in the legislature.

“We’ve seen the dysfunction here in this place,” she said. “And I think we’ve seen that folks have not been able to put aside partisanship and hyper-partisanship and infighting. … I think at this point, you’re probably going to see either, you know, some sort of inner party effects or perhaps court action.”

However, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said the legislature needs to make the fix.

“I have every confidence that it’s going to get done,” he said Tuesday. “No one should worry, they’re going to be able to vote for the president or the former president, whoever they want to vote for. You know, this is not going to be a situation where the president’s name is not on the ballot. So it’s either going to be done by the court, or it’s going to be done by the legislature.”

Ohio law requires political parties certify their candidates with the Secretary of State “on or before” 90 days prior to an election. The issue is the Democratic National Convention where Biden will be officially nominated won’t take place until Aug. 22 — 75 days before the election.

“Republican politicians at the statehouse made clear that they want to take away Ohioans’ ability to choose who they want to be President,” Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters said in a statement. “Throughout this process, corrupt politicians in Columbus have politicized the process and used it to play political games with Ohioans’ ability to hold their government accountable.”

Biden’s campaign is confident he will be on Ohio’s ballot.

“Joe Biden will be on the ballot in all 50 states,” Charles Lutvak, spokesperson for the Biden campaign, said in an email. “Election after election, states across the country have acted in line with the bipartisan consensus and taken the necessary steps to ensure the presidential nominees from both parties will be on the ballot.”

House and Senate bills

Two weeks ago, the House and the Senate came up with different ways of going about making the fix that would push the deadline to 74 days before the election instead.

The Senate bill put the ballot fix and amendments that would ban foreign nationals from contributing to political campaigns to House Bill 114, a campaign child care bill. The Senate passed their bill during the May 8 session.

The House took Senate Bill 92 and stripped the bill of its previous language about last year’s special election and put it in the presidential nomination language — making it a clean bill. But the House adjourned before voting to approve their bill.

Alabama fix

Alabama was facing a similar situation but lawmakers passed legislation and their Republican governor signed a bill into law to make sure Biden would be on the state’s November ballot earlier this month.

The bill bumps back Alabama’s certification deadline from 82 days before the election to 74 days.

“Even Alabama, their legislature was able to get this right,” Russo said.

Editor’s note: This story first appeared on the Ohio Capital Journal website and is being republished with permission.

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