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Washington rule could leave Biden off the November ballot, but state has a solution

Washington State Just Joined Ohio and Alabama in Notifying Through Election Officials That President Joe Biden May Not Participate in the General Election Due to Conflicting Nominating Convention Dates National Democratic and state voting deadlines. The Evergreen State, however, appears to have already proposed a way for the Democrat to remain electable.

On Thursday, the elections director at the Washington Secretary of State’s office sent a letter – obtained by ABC News – to DNC Chairman Jamie Harrison warning him that the deadline for certifying ballots under state law falls on Aug. 20, the day after the DNC meets in Chicago to nominate its presidential and vice presidential picks.

Stuart Holmes, elections director for Democratic Secretary Steve Hobbs, indicated that his office would make an exception for the party if it submitted a provisional certification of nomination no later than Aug. 20, according to the letter.

This comes as the Republican secretaries of state of Ohio and Alabama indicated last week that they would enforce similar election codes in the states in a way that experts say is unprecedented and may -be partisan in nature.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen alerted Democrats to comparable conflicts between their respective states’ deadlines and the DNC convention scheduling at in mid-August, warning that Biden’s nomination in Chicago comes too late to secure their general agreement. electoral ballots.

In Ohio, LaRose signaled in a letter last week that the DNC convention, scheduled to begin Aug. 19, would miss the Aug. 7 ballot certification deadline. In Alabama, Allen sent a letter to Democrats on Tuesday warning them that their Aug. 15 deadline would come before the convention.

This agenda conflict is not a new obstacle — a late August convention has been held several times in recent years for both parties — but states have historically avoided banning major party candidates from their ballots voting or by easily granting provisional access to ballots, as Washington does. suggests, or works through their legislatures, to allow certification extensions.

But now, experts say, red state officials are uniquely exploiting the issue against Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the presumptive Democratic nominees, even though their predecessors made exceptions for the former president Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence appear. on their ballots when the RNC convention arrived too late for their certification.

“This has never been something that anyone has ever faced. … (GOP secretaries) just concocted it. No, this has never happened before,” said Elaine Kamarck, a senior researcher at the Brookings Institution and a member of the Democratic National Committee. , said.

Richard Winger, a ballot access expert and political analyst, agrees.

“These deadlines don’t exist for partisan reasons. … But it’s pretty partisan this year,” he told ABC News.

“You have to go back to 1964 to find a state that excluded a major party presidential candidate from the ballot, and it had nothing to do with the deadlines. … Since then, there has never been a major party candidate who has been excluded from the ballot in any state,” Winger added.

Do Democrats have an action plan to put Biden on the ballot?

Now the Biden campaign, along with Democratic officials, is exploring ways to ensure the president will appear on the ballot in front of voters in Ohio and Alabama.

In response to the news out of Ohio and Alabama, Biden’s re-election campaign argued that “Joe Biden will be on the ballot in all 50 states.” They see this happening first through provisional certification (the process of formally notifying states before the convention that they expect Biden to be the nominee); second, by changing election filing deadlines through GOP-controlled legislatures; third, through litigation in the courts; and finally, virtually nominating the Biden-Harris ticket before their in-person convention.

Historically, in Ohio and Alabama – and a handful of other states – provisional certification of ballot access was granted to candidates from both major parties if they were unable to reconcile the dates of their convention with the deadlines for certification of the state election code.

Before the 2020 general election, Oklahoma, Illinois, Washington, and Montana accepted provisional certifications from the DNC and the Republican National Committee. Alabama also accepted provisional certification from Republicans that year to qualify Trump and Pence.

In 2020, the Alabama Legislature moved its certification deadline for that election to just August 20, 2020, but that was still before the Republican convention ended a week later. The RNC then submitted a provisional certification, which was accepted by the state.

In Ohio, the Biden campaign said it was in conversations with the secretary of state’s office about steps to take in terms of interim certification.

In a letter received by Ohio’s secretary of state and reviewed by ABC News this week, Ohio-based Democratic attorney Donald McTigue said the Democratic Party would tentatively certify Biden and Harris before the deadline on August 7 and would later confirm the results at the convention. .

Ben Kindel, a spokesman for LaRose’s office, said his legal counsel was reviewing the letter.

In Alabama, attorney Barry Ragsdale, representing the Biden campaign, sent a letter – obtained by ABC News – to the general counsel of the Alabama secretary of state’s office on Wednesday, saying the DNC could tentatively certify Biden and Harris as party nominees by the state’s deadline of August 15, then will later confirm the results at the convention.

“This proposal avoids the constitutional issues that would arise if your office interpreted the certification deadline in Alabama Code § 17-14-31(b) to prevent President Biden and Vice President Harris from appearing on the ballot general election in Alabama,” Ragsdale wrote.

“This would allow the many Alabamians who support President Biden and Vice President Harris to exercise their fundamental constitutional right to meaningfully participate in the presidential election,” he added.

In response to the letter, Allen said in a statement to ABC News that he would not provide “any ‘interim certifications’ or any other exceptions.”

If provisional certification of the vote cannot be obtained, the Biden official said their strategy would be transferred to state legislatures. This legislative action worked not only in Alabama but also 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. These laws have helped both Republicans and Democrats put their candidates on the ballot, most recently in 2020, when Democrats and Republicans both held conventions before the deadline.

In their initial letter to Democrats, Secretary LaRose’s legal counsel offered two options: Either move up the date of the DNC convention, or by May 9, the state’s GOP-led legislature should pass legislation authorizing an extension.

In the days following Alabama’s warning to Biden, Democratic Sen. Merika Coleman introduced a bill that would push the state’s deadline to Aug. 23, after the DNC convention.

One of the final courses of action would be to file a lawsuit in court, for which the Biden campaign claims to have a “strong case.”

In his letter to Alabama leaders, Biden’s lawyer wrote that “a court would have no difficulty finding that strict application of the eighty-two day time limit imposes a severe restriction on the “President Biden and Vice President Harris’ access to the ballot,” arguing that the state’s actions in excluding the presumptive nominees were “unfair and unconstitutional.”

Courts could even cite the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Trump v. Anderson, the challenge that sought to exclude Trump from the Colorado Republican Party primary ballot, as the high court justices ruled that the states had no not the power to exclude candidates for federal office – particularly for president – – from appearing on the ballot.

The final step would be for the DNC to hold a virtual vote to decide the Biden-Harris ticket before its August convention.

“If for whatever reason they don’t do the provisional certification, there’s the legislature. If for whatever reason the legislature doesn’t play along and we have litigation, the case for of litigation are really strong. But if for some reason we don’t succeed, then we have this procedure that the DNC can use that completely negates the problem,” a Biden campaign official told ABC News.

“At the end of the day, we will be on the ballot in both of these states,” they added.

ABC News has requested comment from Washington’s secretary of state.

— ABC News’ Kendall Ross contributed to this report.

News Source : abcnews.go.com
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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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