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Committees approve bills to ensure Biden is on the ballot in November

The bills comes after Secretary of State Wes Allen told Democrats that President Joe Biden could be left off the state ballot.

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On Wednesday, committees for the Alabama House and Senate approved similar legislation to ensure President Joe Biden is able to appear on the ballot in November.

Last week, Secretary of State Wes Allen warned the Democratic National Convention and Alabama Democratic Party that a certification of nomination must be submitted to his office no later than August 15. According to Alabama  Code § 17-14-31(6) the certificate must be delivered 82 days before the general election.

In a letter to the Alabama Democratic Party Chair Randy Kelley, Allen stated that Biden and Kamala Harris would be left of the ballot if the certificate is not delivered by the deadline.

“It has recently come to my attention that the Democratic National Convention is currently scheduled to convene on August 19, 2024,” Allen said, “which is after the State of Alabama’s statutory deadline for political parties to provide a certificate of nomination for President and Vice President on August 15, 2024, or ‘no later than the 82nd day next preceding the day fixed for the election.’”

“If this Office has not received a valid certificate of nomination from the Democratic Party following its convention by the statutory deadline, I will be unable to certity the names of the Democratic Party’s candidates for President and Vice President for ballot preparation for the 2024 general election.”

But bills by Democratic lawmakers will extend that deadline so there is more time to submit the certificate of nomination. Sponsored in the House by Rep. Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, and in the Senate by Sen. Merika Coleman, D-Montgomery, will extend the deadline from 82 days to 74 days. This coincides with the Democratic National Convention being held from Aug.19-22 and would allow the certificate to be submitted on Aug. 23.

The legislation passed both chamber committees and received bipartisan approval. In 2020, the Alabama Legislature gave an extension to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

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Sen. Sam Givhan, R-Huntsville, offered his support for the legislation and said he believes if the shoe was on the other foot the problem would be sorted out.

“I’d like to think that if the shoe was on the other foot that this would be taken care of,” Givhan said. “I think that Alabamians have a deep sense of fairness when it comes to politics and elections so I want to let everyone know that I will be supporting this bill.”

The bills move to their respective chamber floors for approval.

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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