Democrats adopt nominating plan to get Biden on Ohio ballot

Democratic Party leaders said Tuesday they will nominate President Biden for a second term via a virtual call of delegates to the party’s national convention, circumventing a glitch in Ohio law that threatened to keep Mr. Biden removed of the November ballot in the state.

Ohio law requires all applicants to be legally certified by August 1. 7, but Mr. Biden was not expected to be officially nominated until the Democratic National Convention in August. 19. The virtual call will be completed by the Ohio deadline.

The party acted as the Ohio Legislature met in special session for the first time in two decades with the goal of passing legislation that would have resolved the voting problem at the state level. Lawmakers had easily dealt with identical issues involving presidential candidates in 2012 and 2016, but deep divisions among Republicans had blocked any action for weeks.

A frustrated governor. Mike DeWine, also a Republican, called lawmakers into the special session last week, calling their failure to end the legislative gridlock “ridiculous” and “absurd.”

Just last week, Ohio House Speaker Rep. Jason Stephens was blunt about his inability to put together a quick fix for Mr. Biden’s vote problem.

“There’s just no desire to do this on the part of the Legislature,” he told reporters Wednesday. “It’s a hyperpolitical environment this time of year. And there are Republicans who just didn’t want to vote on it.”

Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison issued a statement Tuesday denouncing the Republican opposition for its inaction. “Joe Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio and all 50 states, and Ohio Republicans agree,” he said. “But when the time came to act, they failed to act every time, so the Democrats will land this plane on our own.”

Early calling is not a new solution. Democrats also held a remote vote on Mr. Biden’s nomination in 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

That Ohio’s special session was necessary exposed both the dysfunction and the depth of partisan rancor within the ruling party, which holds supermajorities in both chambers of the Legislature.

Faced with similar discrepancies in 2012 and 2020, the Ohio Legislature approved one-time exceptions to the August 1 law. 7 deadline to take into account the calendars of political party congresses. Alabama lawmakers faced an identical technical problem this year and unanimously passed their own solution on May 3.

But Ohio Republicans left the state Capitol earlier this month without taking action on the ballot issue, even though the state’s Republican Attorney General Frank LaRose warned of the problem on April 5.

Deep divisions between radical and moderate Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives, as well as a political rivalry between Republicans in the House and Senate, have roiled the Legislature for more than a year.

The Legislature approved just 16 bills in its 2023 session, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported in January, including measures establishing a November 1 deadline. 19 as James A. Garfield Day, honoring the 20th Ohio-born president, and making July Sarcoma Awareness Month. That total is the lowest since at least the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s, the newspaper said.

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