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Will Biden be on the Ohio ballot? The electoral official still concerned about the question of deadlines

The legal counsel to Ohio’s top elections official, a Republican, sent a letter Monday signaling that the secretary of state’s office cannot accept a proposed workaround to certify President Joe Biden on the election ballot November general elections in the state, in a context of conflict with the Democratic National Committee. on the congressional calendar and the confirmation of Biden as the official candidate of the party.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s lawyer has thrown cold water on a new Democratic lawyer’s proposal to provisionally certify Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris — that is, to formally notify the state before the party convention in August which name they expect to be the candidate so that both candidates can be placed on the Ohio ballot before the ballot certification deadline of August 7.

LaRose suggested Democrats instead seek an exemption through state law, as has been done before.

In a letter received by Ohio’s secretary of state last week, Ohio-based attorney Donald McTigue, who appears to be working with the Democratic Party, based on his letter – although the Biden campaign declined to confirm or deny this – said Democrats could provisionally certify Biden and Harris by August 7, then technically confirm the results at the convention.

But “the idea of ​​providing a ‘provisional certification’ within the statutory time limit is simply not contemplated by law,” according to the Ohio attorney general’s office, as cited by LaRose’s chief legal counsel, Paul Disantis, in Monday’s letter, obtained by ABC News.

Disantis also said he saw some ambiguity in McTigue’s proposals.

“You use the personal pronoun ‘we’ throughout the document, but I am not sure on whose behalf you are communicating,” Disantis wrote.

Neither McTigue nor his office responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

President Joe Biden talks about a deal to provide Intel with up to $8.5 billion in direct financing and $11 billion in loans for computer chip factories in Arizona, Ohio, New Mexico and Oregon, on the Intel Ocotillo campus, March 20, 2024, in Chandler. , Arizona.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

LaRose’s office had alerted Ohio and the DNC on April 5 of an “apparent conflict in Ohio law” between the national party’s nomination process and the deadline by which their presidential pick must be certified to from the Secretary of State’s office.

Alabama and then Washington later raised similar concerns. As in Ohio, state lawmakers have already enacted exemptions for cases where national parties held their conventions after deadlines — and the candidates were still on the ballot.

The Biden campaign said its first line of defense in combating these scheduling issues rested on the provisional certification of Biden and Harris.

In response to LaRose’s letter Monday, the Biden campaign provided the same response it has given since these conflicts erupted earlier this month.

“Joe Biden will be on the ballot in all 50 states. State officials have the option to grant provisional ballot access certification before the conclusion of presidential nominating conventions. In 2020 alone, states like Alabama, Illinois, Montana and Washington have all authorized provisional elections for Democratic and Republican candidates,” a Biden campaign spokesperson said.

As in Ohio, Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen, another Republican, rejected the idea that he would provide “‘provisional certifications’ or any other exceptions” after a lawyer representing the Biden campaign sent a letter saying the DNC could do so by the state’s deadline of August 15, then will later confirm the results at the convention.

In Washington, Democratic Secretary Steve Hobbs indicated his office would make an exception to its deadlines if the DNC submits interim certification for Biden and Harris.

PHOTO: Ohio Secretary of State and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Frank LaRose speaks to supporters during a campaign event in Hamilton, Ohio, March 18, 2024.

Ohio Secretary of State and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Frank LaRose speaks to supporters during a campaign event in Hamilton, Ohio, March 18, 2024.

Paul Vernon/AP, FILE

If provisional certification of the ballot cannot be achieved in places where the president faces uncertainty over ballot access, Biden officials have said their strategy will shift to state legislatures, where they will push to plan for extensions, as in the past.

This legislative action has already been taken in Ohio, where laws were passed before the 2012 and 2020 elections to circumvent the state’s 90-day deadline for nomination before an election.

In their initial letter to Democrats regarding the scheduling conflict, LaRose’s Ohio legal counsel suggested legislative action before the May 9 deadline.

It’s unclear, however, how willing the majority-Republican legislature would be to work with Democrats on the issue.

Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman, a Republican, said in a podcast last week that the issue was a “Democratic issue” but that if they had a proposed solution, he was “all ears.”

Juhi Doshi of ABC News contributed to this report.

ABC News

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