Democrats To Hold Virtual Roll Call To Place Biden on Ohio’s Ballot

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Democratic National Committee (DNC) will officially nominate President Joe Biden as its candidate for the 2024 election earlier than planned, in order to ensure he appears on the Ohio ballot. 

The announcement comes amid a clash between state Republicans and Democrats in the Buckeye State over an obscure state law that sets a strict deadline for political parties to certify their presidential nominees, or else they won’t appear on the state’s general election ballot. Political parties have a deadline of Aug. 7 to certify their candidates to appear on the Ohio ballot, but the Democratic National Convention — the party’s procedural convention to officially certify a candidate — doesn’t take place until after the deadline, on Aug. 19. 

For the past several months, Ohio lawmakers have engaged in a heated back-and-forth to pass special legislation allowing Biden on the ballot, regardless of deadlines. Ohio lawmakers introduced a bill to address the situation, which passed the state House of Representatives. But the Republicans in the state Senate slipped in legislative “poison pills” — unrelated amendments to essentially grant the state’s GOP leaders with more legal power — into the Senate version, Senate Bill 215, that was rejected by Ohio Democrats. 

The amendments that GOP lawmakers attached to the Biden ballot fix bill include one to ban foreign citizens and legal U.S. residents from donating to state and local ballot campaigns, as well as another amendment to shift enforcement power of certain election-related issues from Franklin County Prosecutor G. Gary Tyack (D) to Attorney General Dave Yost (R).  

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) called for a special session of the General Assembly on Tuesday to address the Biden ballot issue and pass legislation to ensure the president appears on the state’s ballot. However, DeWine’s call to action to allow Biden on Ohio’s ballot explicitly endorsed passing the bill with the “poison pill” amendments — S.B. 215.

The DNC ran into a similar situation in Alabama and Washington. In Alabama, lawmakers passed special legislation to allow Biden — who is already the presumptive Democratic nominee — to appear on the ballot, while Washington’s secretary of state indicated that Biden would be allowed on the ballot so long as the DNC submits a provisional certificate of nomination. 

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the DNC will virtually meet before the Aug. 7 deadline to officially nominate Biden as the party’s presidential nominee. “Joe Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio and all 50 states, and Ohio Republicans agree,” DNC chair Jaime Harrison said in a statement to the Ohio newspaper. “But when the time has come for action, they have failed to act every time, so Democrats will land this plane on our own. Through a virtual roll call, we will ensure that Republicans can’t chip away at our democracy through incompetence or partisan tricks and that Ohioans can exercise their right to vote for the presidential candidate of their choice.”

Read S.B. 215 here.