Ohio state House passes Biden ballot fix bill despite DNC remedy

The bill extends the deadline for certifying ballots.

Ohio’s State House passed two bills Thursday. One of them ensures that President Joe Biden will appear on the general election ballot for the state in November, despite an announcement by the Democratic National Committee earlier this week to fix the problem on their own.

The ballot bill extends the current deadline for Ohio to certify ballots, which is August 7. The Democrats had planned to nominate Biden during the party convention that begins on August 19 – meaning Biden would not be eligible to appear on the Ohio ballot due to the earlier deadline.

The bill was passed by more than 30 Republicans and Democrats. It is now redundant after the national party announced that they would virtually nominate the President before Ohio’s certification deadline.

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The Ohio House voted just days after the state Senate had passed a law that would allow Biden to be on their ballot for general elections in November but also prohibit foreign contributions to campaigns to promote ballot issues. The House also voted to ban foreign contributions for statewide ballot issues.

Democrats supported the Biden Ballot Fix Bill, but acknowledged that it came at a “cost” — they acknowledged that the special session that was called for votes was centered on the second bill regarding foreign contributors.

Democrats claimed that the Foreign Money Bill jeopardized Ohioans’ rights to organize and engage in political activity via issue campaigns.

Dontavius Jarrells, a Democratic Rep. from Ohio, said that the ballot bill is “necessary,” to ensure Biden appears on Ohioans’ votes. However, he said he felt “conflicted” by the price at which this goal was achieved.

Jarrells stated that “while it is essential that we maintain an honest and democratic electoral process, we do this at the cost of the current freedoms and rights enjoyed by Ohioans.”

The bill on foreign money passed on a partisan vote (64 Republicans and 31 Democrats). The bill also contained an amendment which prohibited foreign nationals and green card holders to contribute to campaigns for ballot issues.

“We know this special session is not about the governor worrying whether or not the president will be on the ballot. The special session was called on the basis of Ohioans being able to vote for a sitting president only if they were willing to give up some of their democratic rights,” Democratic Rep. Dani Isaacsohn stated.

Democrats also voiced concern about a section of the Foreign Money Act that would allow the Attorney General’s Office to investigate possible foreign contributions when the Ohio Elections Commission raises an alarm.

Democratic members of the Ohio legislature and concerned citizens expressed concern that Ohio’s Attorney General would have “unprecedented powers to enforce election law” and could threaten upcoming elections this fall.

This bill uses vague words to create a climate of fear and uncertainty around political activity. Isaacsohn stated that the Attorney General was attempting to grab power.

The Republican governor has not yet received either bill. Mike DeWine is expected to be in town this week.

Ohio’s state Senate has passed a version that combines Biden’s fix for ballot access and the legislation on foreign money. On Thursday, the House only passed two separate bills that addressed these issues.

The Senate and House could each take up legislation from the other body on Friday when they reconvene. They must do so, or the special session will end with nothing being passed by both chambers.