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Ohio clears path to ballot for Biden

Scheduling conflicts require repeated fixes in election years

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Associated Press/Photo by Patrick Orsagos, File

Ohio clears path to ballot for Biden

President Joe Biden should appear on Ohio’s ballot despite a scheduling conflict with the Democratic National Convention. Following a special legislative session, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill on Sunday that will extend the state’s filing deadline for the 2024 presidential election. While Democrats blame the Republican supermajority in the state for delaying the matter, DeWine is demanding lawmakers create a permanent fix for a cyclical problem.

Daniel Birdsong, a political science senior lecturer at the University of Dayton, said Ohio’s regulation is more of a “quirk in the calendars” that other states have mostly already resolved. This is not the first time a presidential candidate has run into scheduling conflicts with the state filing deadline. The state legislature altered the election code in 2010 to advance the filing deadline from 60 to 90 days before the general election, but that has regularly conflicted with national party conventions.

With no major challengers, Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee, but that does not become official until the party convention, which starts Aug. 19—more than a week after the Ohio filing deadline.

When the DNC holds its conventions early in the summer, there is no issue. But this year the party had to compete with the Republican convention in July and then the Summer Olympics in late July and early August.

Democrats and Ohio lawmakers are scrambling to fix the problem. As of 2023, nearly 8 million registered voters lived in Ohio. Though once a swing state, it has shifted to favor Republicans, and it has 17 Electoral College votes.

Tom Davis, a resident of Columbus, Ohio, found the possible delay concerning.

“When I first heard about it, I was really taken aback,” Davis said. “It’s important that we have the ability to make the decision between two candidates. I don’t know why we have this weird rule in Ohio.”

Ohio temporarily changed the filing deadlines in the 2012 presidential elections to ensure former President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would have spots on the ballot. In the 2020 election, the state legislature extended the deadline for former President Donald Trump and Biden.

This year, Gov. Mike DeWine called a special legislative session for the first time since 2004. He charged lawmakers with reworking the filing deadline yet again.

Rather than wait on the state legislature, the Democratic National Committee announced on May 28 that it planned to nominate Biden virtually before the Ohio ballot deadline. The DNC rules and bylaws committee will vote on June 4 to approve the plan. The convention’s in-person roll call in Chicago will be ceremonial.

In a statement on May 28, Democratic National Committee chairman Jaime Harrison reassured supporters that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris would appear on the ballot in all 50 states. “We will ensure that Republicans can’t chip away at our democracy through incompetence or partisan tricks and that Ohioans can exercise their right to vote for the presidential candidate of their choice.”

Some Republicans argue that the DNC should check the state laws and choose convention dates that do not conflict with them. Tim Rankin is the GOP chairman in Franklin County, Ohio’s most populous county. Rankin wants parties to “do the math,” but if that is not logistically possible, then the state should make an exception.

“[Candidates] shouldn’t be taken off by judicial fiat, by some elected official,” Rankin said. “Everything should be done to get everybody’s political parties’ candidates on the ballot, and let the people vote. That’s what our democracy should all be about.”

Jeremiah Yonemura

Jeremiah M. Yonemura is a senior at The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, Calif. and the WORLD Journalism Institute.


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