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Ohio Legislature Passes Bill Ensuring Biden’s Spot on the Ballot

U.S.Ohio Legislature Passes Bill Ensuring Biden’s Spot on the Ballot

The Ohio General Assembly has passed a legislative fix that ensures President Biden will be on the state’s ballot in November, averting a crisis that had been brewing for weeks over what is typically a minor procedural issue.

The secretary of state in Ohio, a Republican, had said that he planned to exclude Mr. Biden from the ballot because the president would not be officially nominated by his party until after a state deadline for certifying presidential nominees. That had threatened the possibility that the president would not be on the ballot in all 50 states.

The General Assembly resolved the issue by passing a bill that pushes back the deadline to accommodate the date of the Democratic nominating convention. Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, is expected to sign the bill over the weekend, pending a legal review, according to a spokesman.

The solution has been used before. Ohio passed temporary extensions to its certification deadline for President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012 and for President Donald J. Trump in 2020. Other states that had similar deadline issues, including Alabama, have also passed legislative fixes with overwhelming bipartisan support, in 2024 and in other election cycles.

But the solution proposed in the Ohio Legislature was entangled in a separate partisan clash over foreign donations. The General Assembly adjourned last week without a fix in place, after the Ohio Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, advanced a bill that would have resolved the issue but included a partisan measure banning foreign money in state ballot initiatives. Democrats opposed that measure, and the speaker of the Ohio House did not take it up before the chamber adjourned.

Mr. DeWine then called a special legislative session to fix the problem, saying that legislators had failed “to take action on this urgent matter.” The General Assembly ultimately adopted two bills, one that fixed the ballot issue and another that banned donations in support of state ballot initiatives from foreign nationals, including immigrants with green cards.

With the legislative solution appearing dead in the water last week, the Biden campaign considered suing the state to ensure that the president was on the ballot. Instead, the Democratic National Committee scheduled a virtual roll-call vote to officially nominate Mr. Biden ahead of the party’s convention in August. That vote is still set to go forward, even as the issue appears to be resolved.

Hannah Muldavin, a spokeswoman for the committee, denounced what she called “partisan games” by Republican lawmakers that had delayed a solution.

“Since the beginning of this process, Ohio Republicans have been playing partisan games and trying to chip away at our democracy, while Democrats have been defending Ohioans’ right to vote,” Ms. Muldavin said in a statement.

Matt Huffman, the leader of the Ohio Senate, praised the foreign-influence ban, adding in a statement that Ohio “needed to ensure that President Biden is on the ballot in November, and it needed to be done legislatively.”


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