Ohio Secretary of State Applauds Dem Effort to Resolve Biden Ballot Snafu

May 29, 2024 by Dan McCue
Ohio Secretary of State Applauds Dem Effort to Resolve Biden Ballot Snafu
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s Republican secretary of state on Wednesday commended the Democratic National Committee for its efforts to resolve President Joe Biden’s ballot access issue in the state.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose said he notified Democrats two months ago that the timing of the party’s convention did not meet Ohio’s deadline to certify the party’s presidential nominee.

In order to make it onto the Ohio general election ballot for November, the Democratic party needs to certify Biden as its candidate by Aug. 7; the problem is the Democratic National Convention won’t get underway in Chicago, Illinois, until Aug. 19.

Ohio state lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Tuesday for a special session to resolve Biden’s ballot access issue, but they quickly deadlocked on the matter.

State Senate Republicans passed a bill that would allow a one-time change to the certification deadline so that the Democrats could hold their convention as planned and still have the president appear on the state ballot.

The bill was opposed by the chamber’s Democratic minority because it was paired with a provision that would ban foreign contributions to campaigns for ballot initiatives.

In the wake of the deadlock, DNC Chair Jaime Harrison announced Democrats would be holding a virtual roll call vote ahead of the convention to ensure Biden gets on the ballot in all 50 states.

“I’ll be clear, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be on the ballot in Ohio and all 50 states,” Harrison said in a statement. “Through a virtual roll call, we will ensure that Republicans — despite their best efforts — can’t chip away at our democracy and that Ohioans can freely exercise their right to vote.”

On Wednesday, LaRose said when he informed the DNC of the certification issue, he offered two alternatives to fix the problem.

“It’s encouraging that they’re now actively pursuing both of those options,” he said. 

“The Democratic National Committee is reportedly planning to move up the date of its official nominating convention, making its gathering in Chicago later this summer merely a ceremonial event,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the Ohio General Assembly continues to work on temporarily adjusting the certification deadline,” he continued, adding, “Whatever the outcome, I’m hopeful this gets resolved quickly and in the best interest of Ohio voters so we can move forward with preparing for the November election.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, also a Republican, ordered lawmakers to return to the Capitol this week to find a solution to get Biden on the ballot, calling for a solution along the lines of what the Senate proposed.

“This is simply unacceptable. Ohio is running out of time to get the sitting president of the United States on the ballot this fall … This is ridiculous,” he said last week.

Like the Republican Senate plan, DeWine’s version also included the foreign ballot measure contribution ban. 

The state General Assembly — which is also controlled by the Republicans — has yet to weigh in on the matter.

In the meantime, the Ohio Democratic Party is continuing to slam the Republican lawmakers, accusing them of “playing politics with the democratic process.”

“Instead of passing a clean bill to allow Ohioans to choose who they want to be president, they’re … trying to sneak through a bill that will make it harder for Ohioans to hold their government accountable through ballot initiatives,” the state party said on the X social media platform.

“A 2021 Ohio Elections Commission ruling already prohibits foreign nationals from donating to ballot issue campaigns, so it’s clear GOP politicians are trying to make it harder for ballot issues to pass after losing twice last year,” the state Democrats said in a separate post.

When it comes to the controversial provision, LaRose is standing with his Republican colleagues, expressing hope that they “don’t leave town … without sending a clear message that Ohio’s constitution is not for sale to foreign billionaires. 

“It’s been alarming to say the least at how aggressively some are opposing a commonsense ban on noncitizen contributions to ballot campaigns, specifically those seeking to amend our state constitution,” LaRose said. 

“As it stands right now, the same governing document that expressly forbids noncitizens from voting in our elections is being rewritten by noncitizen benefactors with a political agenda, and it must be stopped immediately,” the secretary of state added.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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  • 2024 Elections
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