April 7, 2024

Biden facing potential trouble getting name on Ohio general election ballot

Democrats in recent days have been celebrating some key fundraising achievements on behalf of Joe Biden's re-election bid, but it now appears that they may have a significant hurdle to overcome in what is often a critical battleground state.

As ABC News reports, Biden may have some real difficulty ensuring that his name is on the general election ballot in Ohio, a situation that was outlined in a letter dispatched to the state's Democratic Party leadership on Friday.

Ballot access in question

As the Columbus Dispatch explained Ohio Democratic Party chair Liz Walters was informed last week by the Secretary of State's office that unless a state law undergoes a change -- or the national party convention is held at an earlier date than currently planned -- Biden will not be able to appear on the November ballot.

Democrats are currently slated to hold their national nominating proceeding on Aug 19, but pursuant to Ohio law, their choice must be made by Aug. 7 in order to ensure the candidate's spot on the ballot.

Give the extensive planning and logistics involved in a party convention, it is highly unlikely that a new date can be arranged on such short notice.

Thus, the only option is for the Ohio legislature to hurry and pass a new law by May 9 that would effectuate a waiver for Democrats that would make certain Biden is on the fall ballot.

What comes next?

Paul Disantis, legal counsel for Ohio Secretary of State Frank La Rose said in his letter to Walters, “I am left to conclude that the Democratic National Committee must either move up its nominating convention or the Ohio General Assembly must act by May 9, 2024, to create an exception to this statutory requirement.”

From there, Disantis urged an immediate response, telling the Democratic leadership, “Please contact me as soon as possible with any information that can assure this office of timely compliance with Ohio law.”

When asked to comment on the potential dilemma, a spokesperson for Walters indicated, “We're looking into it.”

A Biden campaign representative declared to ABC News, “We're monitoring the situation in Ohio and we're confident that Joe Biden will be on the ballot in all 50 states.”

National bellwether state?

For many past election cycles, Ohio has been thought of as an important swing state in presidential contests, but recent years have seen multiple shifts in voter sentiment, as Fox News has noted.

Starting in 2016, with the state's support of Donald Trump, there appeared to be a rightward shift that continued through the 2020 election, though amid growing concerns among segments of the state's population on issues such as abortion rights in the wake of the Dobbs decision, pundits are now watching developments closely for another possible shakeup, particularly now that Biden's presence on the ballot is -- at least temporarily -- up in the air.

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