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LaRose: Biden won't be on Ohio ballot unless Democratic convention is moved or law is changed

Balloons start to fall on the crowd at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 28, 2016.
Karen Kasler
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Balloons start to fall on the crowd at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 28, 2016.

Democratic President Joe Biden could be kept off the Ohio ballot in November because of a conflict in state law. The office of Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose has notified the Ohio Democratic Party that the national party’s nominating convention is after the state’s presidential candidate certification deadline, which is 90 days before the election.  

This year’s 90-day deadline is Aug. 7, after the Republican convention in Milwaukee from July 15-18, but before the Democrats’ in Chicago. The Ohio Democratic Party said it’s looking into the letter from LaRose’s office, which says Democrats will either need to move their national convention, set for Aug. 19-22, or state lawmakers will have to change state law by May 9, which they have done before.

The 90-day deadline was set in 2010, in a law that also set up the method of paying voter-approved bonuses for Ohio veterans of wars in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq. But in 2012 when both major parties’ conventions would have fallen after the deadline, lawmakers changed the deadline for that year only, in a law covering competitive bidding, boards of health, county officials and other things.

In 2016, both parties’ conventions occurred before the deadline. And in 2020, legislators added a provision to the two-year state budget because both parties’ conventions were scheduled for after the deadline.

Though the date of the Democratic National Convention has been known for nearly a year, this is the first official notification from the state's chief elections official that the Democratic presidential candidate would not appear on the Ohio ballot.

Earlier this year, LaRose shared concerns about the removal of Republican former President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot in Colorado. The Colorado Supreme Court held Trump accountable for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and ruled Trump was ineligible to run for president because the 14th Amendment bans insurrectionists from holding office. The court's decision was enforced by Colorado's secretary of state.

In a post on Twitter/X in February, LaRose noted that he was at the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, in which he had filed a brief supporting Trump along with the Republican secretaries of state from Missouri and Wyoming. His post read in part: "I'm confident that SCOTUS will make the right decision and reject attempts to silence voters' right to choose their Presidential nominee."

In early March, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously restored Trump to the Colorado ballot.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.