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Alabama lawmakers advance bill to ensure Biden is on the state's ballot


The Alabama Senate voted Tuesday, April 23 for legislation meant to ensure President Joe Biden will appear on the state’s November ballot, mirroring accommodations made four years ago for then-President Donald Trump.

The issue of Biden’s ballot access has arisen in Alabama and Ohio as Republican secretaries of state warn that certification deadlines fall before the Democratic National Convention is set to begin on Aug. 19. Alabama has one of the earliest candidate certification deadlines in the country, which has caused difficulties for whichever political party has the later convention date that year.

The Alabama legislation would push back the state’s certification deadline from 82 days before the general election to 74 days, in order to accommodate the date of Democrats’ nominating convention. The bill, which passed without a dissenting vote, now moves to the state’s House of Representatives.

Democratic state Sen. Merika Coleman, of Pleasant Grove, said the legislation will ensure “all people in the state of Alabama get a chance to support the candidate of their choice.” The bill passed with no debate in the Senate. Republican Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed expressed support for the bill after the vote.

Trump faced the same issue in Alabama in 2020. The Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature passed legislation to change the certification deadline for the 2020 election.

The Biden campaign has asked Alabama to accept provisional certification, saying that has been done previously.

Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen has maintained he does not have the authority to accept provisional certification. An attorney representing the Biden campaign wrote in a letter to Allen that there were still problems with the GOP date despite the legislation and it was a provisional certification that got Trump on the ballot in 2020.

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