Ohio Official Warns Biden Could Lose Ballot Access Due to Deadline

President Joe Biden is at risk of losing access to the ballot in Ohio if he doesn’t meet the certification deadline that’s set by the state.

On Tuesday, Frank LaRose, Ohio’s secretary of state, warned Democrats in Ohio that this was a possibility. 

Paul Disantis, who serves as LaRose’s legal counsel, first talked to the Ohio Democratic Party in early April to make them aware of a law in the state that requires all political parties to certify their candidates for president and vice president at least 90 days before the election.

This year, the date is August 7, since the general election is scheduled for November 5.

The challenge for Democrats is that the Democratic National Convention won’t start until August 19, concluding on August 22. It’s not until the convention is held in Chicago that Biden will be formally nominated as the party’s presidential candidate.

Weeks after that initial notification by Disantis, LaRose said that neither the DNC nor the Ohio Democratic Party have responded to the warning, expressing their “intent to comply with Ohio’s ballot access deadline.”

In a letter sent earlier this week, LaRose urged the Democratic Party to work with officials in the state to seek some sort of alternative solution that would allow Biden to appear on the ballot in what is predicted to be a battleground state.

In a statement that LaRose released that accompanied the letter, he said:

“As it stands today, the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee will not be on the Ohio ballot. That is not my choice. It’s due to a conflict in the law created by the party, and the party has so far offered no legally acceptable remedy.”

What the Democrats have offered is submitting a “provisional certification” by Ohio’s statutory deadline. Dave Yost, Ohio’s attorney general, advised LaRose that a provisional certification won’t work for candidates, according to Ohio state law.

The secretary also can’t provide a solution that’s not written into state law. This completely ties LaRose’s hands when it comes to getting creative or thinking outside the box.

The solution, then, must be that either the Ohio state legislature has to pass a bill that would allow Biden’s candidacy to be certified, or the Democratic Party would have to change the dates for the convention to allow Biden to be selected as the party’s official nominee by August 7 at the latest.

Lawmakers in the state have already put forth new legislation that would change the certification deadline in the state to 74 days before the general election. The new deadline would become August 23 if the bill passes, which is one day after the DNC ends.

That bill likely isn’t going to pass, though, as the Ohio state House adjourned before they took a vote on it.

State House Speaker Jason Stephens, who is a Republican, said that the Republican majority doesn’t intend to change state law to accommodate the president. As he said this week:

“There’s just not the will to do that from the legislature.”