GOP-led Biden ballot access bill passes Ohio Senate without Democrats’ support

Ohio lawmakers gathered on Tuesday for a special session to discuss President Joe Biden’s eligibility to appear on their general election ballot in November. In response, the Democratic National Committee announced plans to conduct virtual party proceedings to officially certify Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris as the Democratic Party nominees. This strategic move allows them to bypass Ohio’s ballot certification deadline.

Ohio’s Senate Republicans have successfully passed a bill that serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it grants permission for Joe Biden to appear on the general election ballot in November. Secondly, it imposes a ban on foreign contributions to ballot issue campaigns. This particular provision was a direct response to the Republican Party’s opposition to the “Issue 1” campaign, which aimed to constitutionally protect abortion rights in Ohio. Notably, the Democrats did not show their support for this bill, as they seemed to gain confidence in voting against it following the announcement by the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

State Senator Bill DeMora stated on Tuesday that the DNC has announced plans to conduct a virtual vote of its delegates nationwide and officially nominate President Biden for the ballot. According to DeMora, the focus should be on preserving the rights of the voters and avoiding a legislative fix that could be influenced by the majority’s whims.

Biden’s ability to appear on the ballot in Ohio was uncertain due to a disagreement over the president’s official party nomination and the state election certification deadlines. However, the DNC’s decision to conduct virtual nominations resolves the issue of ballot access in the state.

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In Ohio, political parties are required by law to officially confirm their presidential candidates 90 days prior to the general election, which falls on August 7. Although Joe Biden would not have become the official nominee until the Democratic National Convention on August 19, the virtual nomination serves to ensure that Biden is nominated before the August 7 deadline.

Ohio Senators have recently passed legislation that extends the deadline to 74 days, which is August 23, following the DNC. The bill is now awaiting the approval of the House.

Ohio’s Republican Governor, Mike DeWine, continues to advocate for a legislative solution to address the concerns surrounding ballot access.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine believes that legislation should be passed to ensure that President Biden is included on the Ohio ballot. DeWine expressed his understanding of the Democratic National Committee’s proposal to address the issue. However, he emphasizes the importance of taking legislative action to secure the presence of the sitting President of the United States on the ballot. DeWine firmly believes that it is the right course of action to ensure that such a fundamental aspect is not left to others and is instead resolved through legislation.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine emphasized the urgency of passing necessary bills that would implement sensible measures. He stated, “It is crucial that these bills reach my desk without delay this week. Doing so is the right course of action.”

The Ohio Senate discussed a single bill on Tuesday that addressed both the ballot issue fix for Biden and the prohibition of foreign contributions to issue campaigns. Democrats raised concerns over the Republicans’ attempt to push through both issues during the special session, asserting that the GOP has turned the legislative fix for ballot certification into a political matter. They argued that such a fix has been extended to both parties in previous election cycles.

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During a House Government Oversight Committee meeting on Tuesday morning, House Democratic Whip Dani Isaacsohn expressed her thoughts on the special session and the pairing of two bills. She stated, “This special session and the combination of these two bills is a political trade made to try and extract some price to be paid for President Biden being on the ballot.” Isaacsohn’s remarks highlight the perceived motive behind the decision to link the bills, suggesting a strategic move to leverage President Biden’s presence in the upcoming election.

Republicans have refuted the claim that they were acting in a “partisan” manner by attempting to merge the concerns.

Republican Senator Rob McColley questioned the true intentions of those opposing the bill, highlighting the need for a united front against foreign election interference and contributions. He emphasized the importance of addressing this issue and questioned why anyone would vote against such a bill.

In the upcoming November election, Ohio stands out as the sole state where Biden’s eligibility to be on the ballot is in question. Alabama had faced a similar predicament regarding the certification of their ballot and Biden’s official nomination. Nevertheless, the Alabama legislature swiftly resolved the issue in May, with unanimous support, and it was subsequently signed into law by Republican Governor Kay Ivey.

“Putting together all the issues in one bill has been a cause of concern for all of us. We couldn’t simply pass a clean bill like Alabama and other states dealing with this matter. We wanted to put Biden on the ballot and address the other issues separately. It has been a challenge for us,” stated Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio, a Democrat, during his speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

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Last week, DeWine urged for a special session to address the issue legislatively.

DeWine also gave his endorsement to the initiative led by the GOP to prevent foreign money from being used in issue campaigns.

The Biden campaign has consistently stated that the president will appear on the ballot in all 50 states.

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