Will Alabama and Ohio have Biden on the ballot? Up to Republicans.

Columbus— President Joe Biden's reelection campaign is negotiating with Republican-dominated state governments in Ohio and Alabama to get him on their fall ballots as the nation's turbulent politics overshadow procedural deliberations.  

Both states, which have 26 electoral votes, have deadlines for appearing on the ballot before the Democratic National Convention in Chicago from Aug. 19 to 22. Biden's lawyers have requested their secretaries of state to accept temporary certifications before the cutoff, which will be updated once Biden is nominated.  

There, things became sticky. Election chiefs in both states have found solutions that leave Democrats in a precarious position to seek Republicans for support. Though former President Donald Trump is projected to win both states, the absence of a sitting president could shift expectations.  

It also asks: Can divided parties cooperate for voters?  that Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen will not accept a provisional certification because he lacks legal authority. Allen wrote the Alabama Democratic Party a “heads up” about the date issue so they could fix it. No one is denied. Allen stated he was explaining the law. I took an oath to uphold Alabama law, so I will.”  

Randy Kelley, Alabama's Democratic Party chair, accused Allen of “partisan gamesmanship,” noting that Alabama has accommodated late Republican conventions. Last week, Ohio Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose wrote the Ohio Democratic Party an identical letter. The letter proposed the party postpone its convention or acquire a legislative fix by May 9 to get Biden on the Nov. 5 ballot.  

Using a rarely used clause of the 14th Amendment barring anyone who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office, a legal campaign last year sought to remove former Trump from several state ballots. After Democratic-dominated states like Colorado and Maine did so, Republicans threatened to exclude Biden from red state ballots if the Supreme Court didn't reverse.  

Last month, the high court ruled that states can't prohibit national office candidates under the constitution. Alabama and Ohio proceeded despite technical issues between Biden's candidacy and their ballot deadlines. Biden's team claims Alabama has accepted provisional certification before, including in 2020 when Republicans faced the same dilemma. Trump received provisional certification and the state passed legislation with a one-time deadline change that year. Democratic lawyers say provisional certification, not legislation, put Trump on the ballot.  

However, John Merrill, Allen's Republican predecessor as secretary of state, said Alabama helped Trump and “absolutely the state should do the same” for Biden. Everyone deserves a chance to vote for major party nominees. That's why the state must do whatever it takes to represent everyone, he said.

In 2020, Republicans and Democrats presented provisional certifications for Trump and Biden in Montana, Oklahoma, and Washington. Washington accepted a provisional certification for Biden to satisfy its pre-convention requirement on Thursday. Oklahoma's deadline falls before the conference this year, but a spokeswoman noted its statute allows provisional certifications.  

In 2012 and 2020, Ohio lawmakers had to extend its certification period from 60 to 90 days before the general election to please both parties. All changes were temporary. Two Democratic members in Alabama's Republican-controlled Legislature proposed legislation Thursday to delay the state's certification deadline, and the party may have to lead in Ohio's GOP-led Statehouse.  

Republican Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman told reporters this week he will not propose a legislative solution. He left it to minority Democrats, who have only seven of 33 chamber members. Democratic problem, I guess. Huffman said a Democratic solution is needed. No one has recommended that to me.”  

That might leave Biden's destiny in Ohio to LaRose, whom Democrats slammed all spring during a contentious Senate primary. Democrats are considering all alternatives. They may sue or summon a convention early to ratify Biden's certification if provisional certification and legislation fail.  

stay turned for development