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House, Senate bills would provide extension to ballot deadline

MONTGOMERY — Companion bills have been introduced in the Alabama Senate and House seeking an extension to a state deadline for political parties to provide a certificate of nomination for president and vice president.

House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels and the Chair of the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus Sen. Merika Coleman have introduced the bills in the House and Senate to extend the deadline for the Democratic National Party to put President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on the ballot for the November general election. 

Secretary of State Wes Allen said, according to Alabama code, parties must certify their candidates “no later than the 82nd day preceding the day fixed for the election.” Because the general election is Nov. 5, the 82nd preceding day would be Aug. 15, four days before the Democratic National Convention is scheduled to begin.

“The people of Alabama should have the opportunity to elect the candidate of their choice and to see their party’s candidate on the ballot, regardless of their political affiliation,” Coleman (D-Birmingham). “Oversights and scheduling conflicts have happened before and there is precedent for correcting this quickly just as the Republicans have done several times previously.”

Since the Democratic National Convention is after the deadline, this bill would allow for an extension. Such an extension was allowed by the Legislature for former President Donald Trump on the 2020 ballot when the Republican National Convention was after the deadline. Other allowances were made by the Legislature in 2004 and 2012.

“This is fundamentally about fairness and giving the voters of Alabama a choice,” said Daniels (D-Huntsville). “The Alabama Legislature has the ability to grant provisional ballot access certification prior to the conclusion of presidential nominating conventions.

“Simply put, this is the right thing to do for Alabama voters.” 

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