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Ohio Governor Urges Swift Action for Biden’s Ballot Inclusion

Ohio’s governor is urging state lawmakers to resolve a partisan conflict that could prevent US President Joe Biden from appearing on the key swing state’s presidential ballot in November.

Earlier this week, Ohio’s top election official warned that Democrats are nominating their candidate too late to meet the state’s ballot access laws. While similar issues have been resolved quietly in the past, the Biden campaign might have to take legal action to secure a spot on the ballot.

On Thursday, Governor Mike DeWine announced a rare special session of the Legislature to pass a law ensuring Biden’s inclusion on the ballot. Ohio law requires political parties to officially confirm their presidential and vice-presidential nominees to the election authorities at least 90 days before the general election, which sets the deadline at August 7.

Although Biden has secured the necessary votes for the Democratic nomination, he will not be formally named as the party’s candidate until the Democratic National Convention, scheduled for August 19-22. This timing conflicts with Ohio’s certification deadline.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, highlighted this issue in a letter to Ohio Democratic Party leadership, stating that unless the party complies with the statutory deadline, he would instruct election boards to prepare ballots without the Democratic nominees for president and vice president.

Former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate, faces no such issue as the Republican National Convention is set for July 15-18, well before the Ohio deadline.

Governor DeWine, a moderate Republican, criticized the situation as “ridiculous” and “absurd” and called for immediate legislative action to avoid excluding the sitting president from the ballot. “Ohio is running out of time to get Joe Biden, the sitting President of the United States, on the ballot this fall,” he said. “Failing to do so is simply unacceptable.”

Historically, both Democratic and Republican conventions are held in the summer before a presidential election, and states have typically adjusted certification deadlines without controversy. Earlier this year, Democrats in Washington state and Republicans in Alabama made provisional changes to accommodate Biden’s nomination timeline. Ohio itself has made similar adjustments in the past for Republican nominees Mitt Romney in 2012 and Donald Trump in 2020.

However, Ohio’s Republican House Speaker Jason Stephens indicated that the Legislature would not address this issue. “There’s just not the will to do that from the Legislature,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

The Biden campaign remains confident that the issue will be resolved. “Joe Biden will be on the ballot in all 50 states,” said campaign spokesperson Charles Lutvak. “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.”

With a legislative solution from state Republicans off the table, Biden may have to pursue legal action to secure his place on the Ohio ballot. Ohio, once a swing state, has leaned increasingly conservative in recent elections, with Trump winning the state by about 8% margins in both 2016 and 2020.

This ballot dispute follows another partisan clash earlier this year, when officials in Colorado, Illinois, and Maine attempted to bar Trump from the ballot under a Civil War-era insurrection clause in the US Constitution. The US Supreme Court ultimately ruled that Trump must be included on the ballots in those states.


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