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Ohio GOP Officials Refuse Democrats’ Plan to Put President Joe Biden on November Ballot

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Ohio officials have rejected the Democratic Party’s plan to put President Joe Biden on the November ballot after the party scheduled its convention after the state election deadline. Secretary of State Frank LaRose warned Ohio Democrats earlier this month that Biden was at risk of not appearing on the November 5 ballot.

State law requires officials to certify ballots 90 days before the election — which will take place on Aug. 7, 2024  — but the president will not be officially inaugurated until the  National Convention of the Democratic Party on August 19.

In a letter to LaRose’s office obtained by  USA TODAY Network’s Ohio bureau, attorney Don McTigue said Democrats will provisionally certify Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris ahead of the July 7 deadline August.

McTigue noted that Biden had secured enough delegates for the Democratic nomination without facing any major challengers in the primary. Biden easily won the Ohio presidential primary with 87% of the vote.

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ALSO READ: Republican Official Warns Biden Could Be Removed From General Election Ballot in Ohio

“If President Biden and Vice President Harris do not appear on the ballot as  Democratic candidates, their supporters in Ohio will be deprived of the opportunity to connect with their preferred candidate,” McTigue wrote.

But Attorney General Dave Yost’s office said the expected approval would have no effect, nor could LaRose unilaterally change the election deadline.

“Instead, the law requires the Democratic Party to certify its presidential and vice presidential nominees no later than August 7, 2024,” Yost attorney Julie M. Pfeiffer told Legal Counsel by LaRose. “There are no alternative procedures permitted.” 

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Pfeiffer’s letter appears to leave Democrats with two options: adjourn the Legislature or sue. Lawmakers could pass a 90-day waiver before May 9, as they did in 2020 when both parties scheduled their conventions too late.

But the chances of that happening are slim: top Democrats say they are delaying the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and Republican leaders are unlikely to help.

“I think it’s a Democratic problem,” Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, told reporters last week. “There needs to be a Democratic solution. That’s not being offered to me.” Ohio is not the only state that sets an election deadline before the convention.

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ALSO READ: Supreme Court Expresses Skepticism About Colorado Disqualifying Trump from Its Ballot

Alabama and Washington are on board, although Washington’s Secretary of State — a Democrat — will accept temporary certification, The Seattle Times reported.

Oklahoma, Illinois, Washington, and Montana did the same with both parties in 2020. McTigue and a Biden campaign spokesman declined to answer questions about potential next steps.

“Joe Biden will be on the ballot in all 50 states,” a Biden campaign official said. “State officials have the option of issuing temporary certification of ballot access before the conclusion of the presidential nominating convention.”

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