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Ivey signs bill to allow Biden on the ballot, fix recurring technical flaw

This is not the first time a presidential candidate has almost missed the ballot in Alabama.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the National League of Cities 100th Anniversary Conference, Monday, March 11, 2024, at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C. Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz
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Although it is standard practice for the Republican and Democrat nominees to appear on state ballots each general election, a technicality in Alabama state law threatened this year to leave President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris off the ballot.

Secretary of State Wes Allen announced last month that the Democratic National Convention would certify candidates after the deadline of Aug. 13 provided in state law.

This is not the first time a presidential candidate has almost missed the ballot in Alabama, it happened in 2020 with Donald Trump. That year, Republican lawmakers extended the deadline from Aug. 13 to Aug. 20 to accommodate the Republican National Convention, but the party did not certify candidates until Aug. 24. 

Then-Secretary of State John Merrill accepted a provisional certification from the Republican Party—Allen said he would not do the same for Biden.

Gov. Kay Ivey though has now signed a bill into law that would resolve the issue at hand, as well as make it less likely for the problem to continue in the future as the Legislature approved a bill by Sen. Merika Coleman, D-Birmingham, to allow for the certification of Presidential candidates up to 74 days before the election instead of 82 days. 

“This piece of legislation by Sen. Coleman and colleagues in the Alabama Senate will give us an opportunity to position the president of being on the ballot in the state of Alabama,” said House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville.

Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark. said he wants to continue looking at the law to provide a permanent fix in the case that nomination occurs within the 74-day window.

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“I am glad we are doing this, and I appreciate your efforts on this,” Clouse said. “I have been trying to get some answers ever since this issue came up of why the 82 days. Reading from press reports, why is it just us and Ohio that are in this situation?”

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

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