Ohio Republicans Won’t Pass Legislative Fix To Allow Biden on November Ballot

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Republican majority in Ohio’s Legislature won’t pass special legislation to allow President Joe Biden to be on November’s general election ballot, Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens (R) said on Tuesday. 

The statement comes amid pressure for Ohio lawmakers to amend a state law that sets strict deadlines for certifying presidential candidates for the November ballot. Ohio has a deadline of Aug. 7 for each political party to certify their presidential candidates to appear on the state’s general election ballot on Nov. 5. But the Democratic National Convention — the party’s procedural event where they officially settle on a nominee — isn’t until Aug. 19. That would mean, in order for Biden to appear on Ohio’s ballot, lawmakers would have to amend the law to allow Biden, who is the presumptive Democratic nominee, to be on the ballot.

“It’s a hyper political environment at this time of year,” Stephens told reporters on Tuesday, according to the Statehouse News Bureau. “There are some Republicans who just did not want to vote on it and there were some who were.”

Ohio isn’t the only state with such a rule — both Alabama and Washington also have similar laws that would prevent Biden from appearing on the state’s November ballot because of the date of the Democratic National Convention. Earlier this month, however, Alabama lawmakers passed special legislation to allow the president to appear on the state’s ballot, regardless of deadlines. Washington lawmakers will also allow Biden to appear on the state’s ballot through a provisional certification, so long as the Democratic Party sends provisional certification of nomination before the state’s Aug. 20 deadline, according to ABC News

Republican lawmakers in Ohio did propose legislation, Senate Bill 92, in early May to allow Biden on the ballot, but they tacked on unrelated amendments — including one that would ban foreign nationals from contributing to campaigns — that failed to get enough Democratic votes. 

“Republican politicians at the statehouse made clear that they want to take away Ohioans’ ability to choose who they want to be President,” Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters said in a statement, according to the Ohio Capital Journal. “Throughout this process, corrupt politicians in Columbus have politicized the process and used it to play political games with Ohioans’ ability to hold their government accountable.”

There’s still a way for Biden to appear on Ohio’s ballot but, as Cleveland.com explains, if it happens, it will be through the Democratic National Committee (DNC) doing so through an administrative change to officially make Biden the nominee before Aug. 7.

Read S.B. 92 here.