Election officials say Biden could miss Ohio voting deadline

Democrats may miss the deadline to get President Biden on the general election ballot in Ohio, according to the state's Office of Elections.

In a letter seen by The Washington Post, Ohio Secretary of State Liz Walters told Ohio Democratic Party Chairwoman Liz Walters that the Democratic National Committee's nominating convention is scheduled too late for Biden to place on the Ohio ballot because state law requires candidates to be certified. At least 90 days before the general election.

The letter, citing Ohio's presidential ballot laws, states that the deadline for certifying a presidential candidate in Ohio is 90 days before the general election. The election is Nov. 5 this year, putting Ohio's deadline on Aug. 7 — but the Democratic National Convention, which is expected to nominate Biden for a rematch against Donald Trump, isn't scheduled to convene until Aug. 19.

The letter from Paul DeSantis, chief legal counsel to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R), asked for clarification from Democratic state legislative leaders to ensure the party's “timely compliance with Ohio law.”

Ben Kindel, a spokesman for LaRose, shared the letter with The Post but declined to comment further.

The Ohio Democrats copied on the letter — Ohio House Minority Leader Alison Russo and Ohio Senate Minority Leader Nikki Antonio — did not respond to The Post's request for comment Sunday morning, but the Biden campaign said the president would appear Sunday morning. Ballot.

“We are monitoring the situation in Ohio and we believe Joe Biden will be on the ballot in all 50 states,” Biden-Harris 2024 campaign spokesman Josh Marcus-Blank said in an email to The Post.

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LaRose's office recommended that the Democratic National Committee hold its nominating convention to meet the Aug. 7 deadline or create an exception to the law for the Ohio General Assembly Democratic nominee.

Ohio voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020.

David Niven, a political science professor at the University of Cincinnati, said he expects the Republican nominee to win Ohio again, even if Biden is on the ballot. But if Biden is omitted, Niven said, fewer Democrats will vote, potentially blocking the party's nominees for Senate and House seats.

“If this actually happens and President Biden is stopped on the ballot, it will be devastating to the general faith in democracy,” Niven said.

This isn't the first time Ohio's law has created planning conflicts. In 2020, the Democratic and Republican parties scheduled their conventions after Ohio's deadline. Aware of this, state lawmakers made a change to reduce the deadline from 90 days before an election to 60, Niven said.

But Niven said the decision was beneficial to both parties. In Ohio, where the Republican Party controls both the legislative chambers and the governor's mansion, Niven said he wasn't sure if Republicans would want to implement another exemption.

If the Legislature doesn't grant an exception, he said, Biden must either name his nominee before the Democratic convention or list Biden on the ballot as a third-party candidate.

“My guess is that, at least for the moment, democracy will win,” Niven said. “But this being Ohio, it's not going to be easy.”

It would be surprising not to have a Democratic or Republican candidate appear on the general election ballot in all 50 states, but in this year's Democratic primaries, Biden did not vote in New Hampshire.

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Democrats rescheduled their primary for 2024 to make South Carolina the first contest, but New Hampshire — a state law requiring its primaries to be the first in the nation — did not push its Democratic primary in response. The National Party urged candidates not to participate, and Biden preferred not to put his name on the ballot, but he won as a write-in candidate anyway.

In 2016, Trump narrowly missed appearing on the general election ballot in Minnesota because of the misalignment of that state's Republican Party. In December, Colorado disqualified Trump from the state's primary ballot, but the Supreme Court unanimously overturned that decision.

Both major candidates are headed to Ohio, which has 17 electoral votes this year.

Biden visited East Palestine in February, Ohio, more than a year after the train derailment caused environmental issues and political disputes.

Last month, Trump held a rally in Vandalia, Ohio, where he said some immigrants accused of crimes were “not people” and would “bleed out the country” if he wasn't elected.

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