How a DNC scheduling error could mean Biden won’t be on Alabama’s ballot in November

Alabama Democrats might not have an option to vote for President Joe Biden in November unless they want to write his name on their ballots.

The Democratic National Convention is scheduled to take place days after the deadline for parties to submit their nominees for president and vice president on the Alabama ballot for the general election in November. Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen, a Republican, notified the Alabama Democratic Party and Democratic National Committee on Tuesday that their schedule could cause problems this fall.

“It has recently come to my attention that the Democratic National Convention is currently scheduled to convene on August 19, 2024, which is after the State of Alabama’s statutory deadline for political parties to provide a certificate of nomination for President and Vice President,” Allen wrote in a letter to Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Randy Kelley and DNC Chairman Jaime R. Harrison.

“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 certify the names of the Democratic Party’s candidates for President and Vice President for ballot preparation for the 2024 general election,” Allen wrote. 

The Biden campaign remained firm the president will be on the ballot nationwide. 

“Joe Biden will be on the ballot in all 50 states,” Biden’s campaign said. “State officials have the ability to grant provisional ballot access certification prior to the conclusion of presidential nominating conventions. In 2020 alone, states like Alabama, Illinois, Montana, and Washington all allowed provisional certification for Democratic and Republican nominees.”

In 2020, a similar situation occurred with the Republican National Convention, but the Alabama legislature passed a one-time adjustment, allowing Trump to get on the ballot. The bill said it was “to accommodate the dates of the 2020 Republican National Convention.”

When asked about a similar adjustment for Democrats this year, Allen said, “As Secretary of State, I will administer Alabama elections in accordance with Alabama law and the deadlines provided therein.”

Since 1975, Alabama law has required candidates to be nominated 82 days before the general election. The Democratic convention is set to be held in Chicago Aug. 19–22. 

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Under Alabama law, Aug. 15 would be the final day for parties to certify a candidate, as that is 82 days out from Nov. 5. The Republican convention is scheduled to be July 15-18 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, putting it far before the deadline. 

“If those certificates are not in my office on time, there will be no certification and no appearance on the Alabama general election ballot in accordance with sections 17-13-22 and 17-14-31(a) of the Code of Alabama,” Allen said. “With this letter, we are providing ample notification to the leadership of the Democratic Party at the state and national level that the burden of providing those certifications by the statutorily set deadline is a requirement that they must meet.”

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