Alabama Passes Bill Allowing Biden to Appear on Ballot in November

Alabama lawmakers last week approved legislation allowing President Biden to appear on the state’s General Election ballot, in a move mirroring legislation passed in 2020 to accommodate then-President Trump.

Both Alabama and Ohio have early certification deadlines that fall before the start of the August 19 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The secretaries of state in Ohio and Alabama warned that the president might not appear on the November ballot since certification was due before Biden officially received the party’s nomination.

Alabama’s early certification deadline has created difficulties for whichever party’s convention date was later. During the 2020 election, then-President Trump faced the same issue in the state, forcing the Alabama legislature to pass a measure changing the 2020 certification deadline to accommodate the later GOP convention date.

If the Republican-controlled legislature opposed the measure for the Democrat incumbent, it was likely the Biden campaign would have sued the state to receive the same accommodation that Trump received in 2020.

The campaign had previously asked the state to accept a provisional certification, something that other states as well as Alabama have done in the past. However, Secretary of State Wes Allen declined to accept a provisional certification saying he did not believe he had the authority to unilaterally do so.

The state House voted unanimously last Thursday to ensure Biden’s name appeared on the ballot and Republican Governor Kay Ivy signed the measure into law immediately afterward.

Alabama Republican Speaker Pro Tem Chris Pringle said during last Thursday’s floor debate that adjusting the certification deadline was not new for the state and urged lawmakers in the House to “fix this so the president can be on the ballot.”

Under last week’s bill, the state deferred its 2024 certification deadline from 82 days before the November election to 74 days to accommodate the August 19 date for the Democrats’ nominating convention.