May 13, 2024 - News

Biden's Ohio ballot conundrum explained

President Biden speaking at podium

President Biden speaks at Cleveland's Max S. Hayes High School in 2022. Photo: Angelo Merendino/Getty Images

A procedural issue could keep President Biden off the Ohio ballot in November, but Democrats are confident a solution can be reached.

Why it matters: It would be unprecedented for a major party candidate to be left off the ballot, and it would have disastrous consequences for other Democrats up for election.

Catch up quick: Ohio election law requires political parties to certify the presidential ticket by Aug. 7.

  • But the Democratic National Convention in Chicago ā€” where Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will be officially renominated ā€” is not scheduled until Aug. 19-22.

State of play: Democrats aren't changing the convention dates, meaning it's up to the Ohio legislature to change the law to get Biden on the ballot.

  • This issue has come up in past election cycles. In those cases, lawmakers simply changed the deadline for parties to certify candidates' names to the Ohio secretary of state.

The latest: Both parties in the GOP-controlled Statehouse have expressed public support for ensuring Biden's access, but negotiations have not gone smoothly.

  • Republicans recently attempted to pair this with other new rules banning foreign contributions to ballot issues and requiring organizers of a ballot issue to register as political action committees.
  • Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican who oversees the state's elections, supports this effort.

What they're saying: "Any legislative fix for Biden should be paired with a GOP policy priority," Rep. Brian Stewart, R-Ashville, wrote on X.

The other side: Democratic lawmakers criticized the ostensible compromise, per the Ohio Capital Journal, with state Sen. Bill DeMora, D-Columbus, calling it "irrelevant partisan nonsense."

  • Biden's campaign insists the president will make the ballot in all 50 states.
  • Gov. Mike DeWine, who would need to sign the bill for it to become law, has asserted Biden will reach the ballot.
Tweet from Jim Provance about Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
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