Is Ohio Ballot Access Deadline a Reason for Democrats to Push through a Virtual Roll Call Vote Before the Convention to Choose Joe Biden? Almost Certainly Not

After a warning from the Ohio Secretary of State that the Democrats’ late convention would come too late to notify Ohio to put its nominee on the ballot, Democrats decided to hold a virtual roll call vote early before the convention to meet the deadline. Ohio then changed its law so that notification after the Democratic convention would be timely. But that law does not take effect until September 1, and some Democrats are warning that Ohio could backtrack and keep the Democratic nominee off the ballot. There’s no indication this would happen politically, and if it did it seems just about certain that if Ohio tried to do so a court would order Biden’s name on the ballot. This instead seems to be a political move to rush Biden’s nomination through amidst calls from some Democrats to replace him on the ticket.

To begin with, there’s no indication that Ohio would come in and change its law in a kind of bait and switch. Indeed, both the Secretary of State and Governor have made statements that the Democratic nomination would be timely this year, statements that would be relied upon in any future lawsuit as a kind of estoppel or misrepresentation if Ohio tried to make a change later. From Vox:

Republican leaders in Ohio, meanwhile, say the ballot nominating issue is now moot and blasted Democrats for trying to gin up more panic.

“The issue is resolved in Ohio, and Democratic activists should stop trying to scapegoat Ohio for their party dysfunction,” said Ben Kindel, a spokesperson for Ohio’s Secretary of State Frank LaRose. Kindel shared with Vox a legal advisory LaRose sent to all Ohio County Board of Elections directors and board members on June 3 affirming that the deadline for political parties to certify their presidential and vice-presidential candidates is now September 1 — well after Democrats’ convention in Chicago.

A spokesperson for Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine also told Vox that the new Ohio law would ensure that any nominee selected at the DNC’s August convention would appear on the November ballot. “The new law is structured so that it will take effect in time for it to serve as legal instructions for the Ohio secretary of state to prepare the ballot,” the spokesperson, Dan Tierney, said. “Every single Democrat member of the General Assembly voted in favor of [the bill].”

Further, Richard Winger notes a long history of states easing ballot access laws that immediately were put into effect. Further, there are Supreme Court cases assuring access to the ballot for serious presidential candidates, including a famous case, Anderson v. Celebrezze, from Ohio.

With all of this, I don’t think it’s serious to say that Democrats need do a virtual roll call to assure their party’s nominee will be on the ballot. This is about politics, not law.

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CMD on Wyoming Voting Restriction Efforts

Center for Media and Democracy:

A right-wing think tank in Florida put its thumb on the scales of Wyoming’s election reform efforts, an investigation by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) reveals.

Emails obtained by CMD show that the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), based in Naples, Florida, has had extensive communication with Wyoming’s secretary of state in its pursuit of severely curtailing voting access across the country.

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Breaking: Sen. Menendez Convicted of Bribery and Acting as Foreign Agent

AP:

 U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez was convicted on Tuesday on all counts at his corruption trial, including accepting bribes of gold and cash from three New Jersey businessmen and acting as a foreign agent for the Egyptian government.

Prosecutors said the Democrat abused the power of his office to protect allies from criminal investigations and enrich associates, including his wife, through acts that included meeting with Egyptian intelligence officials and helping that country access millions of dollars in U.S. military aid.

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“Inside the private pressure campaign to force hand-counting of Arizona ballots”

Votebeat:

Republican lawmakers in Arizona privately pressured county leaders across the state to count ballots by hand instead of using machines, according to previously unreported text messages.

The messages, obtained by Votebeat through public record requests, are a window into how state lawmakers are trying to leverage relationships with Republican county supervisors — who decide how to count ballots in their counties — to promote a practice that state officials have repeatedly said would be illegal.

And it highlights how lawmakers have turned to counties to try to change how ballots are counted, after failing to change state laws.

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