Ohio’s Top Election Official Responds to Criticism Over Biden ‘Ballot Problem’

‘I didn’t create this problem, nor do I wish for that outcome,’ Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said.

Ohio’s secretary of state, Frank LaRose, responded to criticism regarding how the state is handling a “ballot problem” that President Joe Biden currently faces.

Mr. LaRose, a Republican, was critical of claims from Democrats who blamed him and other Ohio Republicans for what he said was their “failure to get Joe Biden on the ballot in Ohio,” noting that state law mandates that political parties confirm presidential candidates 90 days before the general election in November.

The Democratic Party’s nominating convention is scheduled for Aug. 9, or two days after the state’s Aug. 7 deadline.

“As Ohio’s chief elections officer, I refuse to bend the rules to benefit a candidate,” Mr. LaRose wrote in an opinion article published exclusively in the Wall Street Journal.  “Critics allege that my decision to uphold the law will deprive Ohio voters of the opportunity to choose their president. Never mind that I didn’t create this problem, nor do I wish for that outcome.”

The secretary of state, who is the top elections officer in Ohio, added that he believes “state and national Democrats have given me no viable legal alternative” to get President Biden on the ballot.

“I believe it’s in voters’ best interest to have a choice in the race for president, from Donald Trump in Colorado to Joe Biden in Ohio,” Mr. LaRose wrote. “But I’m also duty-bound to follow Ohio election law. For now, the law requires me to uphold a deadline the Democratic Party appears willing to miss. If as a result the Democratic candidates for U.S. president and vice president aren’t on the statewide ballot, that’s the party’s choice, not mine.”

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The Epoch Times has contacted the Democratic Party in Ohio for comment.

In response to the controversy, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, last week called for a special legislative session to get President Biden on the ballot in the state. The state House and Senate have until this Thursday to make a decision.

During a news conference, Mr. DeWine warned that his state is “running out of time” to get the incumbent president on the ballot, describing the situation as “not acceptable” to him. “This is ridiculous; this is an absurd situation,” he said.

“The purpose of this session will be for the General Assembly to pass legislation ensuring that both major presidential candidates will be on the Ohio ballot in November,” Mr. DeWine said.

Earlier in May, Ohio Senate Republicans passed a bill that would change Ohio’s deadline and included language that bans foreign contributions related to ballot issue campaigns in the state. Mr. DeWine and other top Ohio Republicans including U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) have urged the state legislature to pass that measure as well.

“This is the right call and it’s a reasonable compromise: Republicans keep foreign money out of our state ballot process, and both major parties’ nominees will be on the ballot,” said Mr. Vance in a statement posted on social media. “Remember: Donald Trump will beat Joe Biden, whether he’s on the ballot or not, by 10 points. But a lot of Trump voters might sit at home if there isn’t a real presidential race, and that will really hurt our down ballot races for the Senate and Congress. We need to play chess.”

House Minority Leader Allison Russo, a Democrat, told reporters last week that President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio, claiming that “dysfunction” in the state House and Senate has led to the current situation.

“We’ve seen the dysfunction here in this place. I think we’ve seen that folks have not been able to put aside partisanship and hyper-partisanship and infighting and do what I think is the right thing for all voters, the right thing for all parties,” Ms. Russo said.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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