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Gov Dewine Signs Bill to Block Foreign Interference with Elections, and Changes Deadline for Candidates


Columbus, Ohio – Ohio lawmakers convened on Tuesday for a special session, aiming to resolve uncertainties surrounding President Joe Biden’s appearance on the state’s general election ballot in November, and adding a new Campaign Finance Law regarding foreign nationals and ballot issues, that bill was signed on Sunday by the Governor.

In a strategic move to ensure Biden’s ballot access, Ohio’s Senate Republicans passed a bill during the session. The bill not only permits Biden’s appearance on the general election ballot but also imposes restrictions on foreign contributions to ballot issue campaigns. This latter provision was a direct response to GOP objections raised during the “Issue 1” campaign last year, which aimed to constitutionally protect abortion in the state.

However, the bill’s passage lacked Democratic support, with members seemingly emboldened to oppose the legislation following the DNC’s announcement of virtual nominations. The DNC’s decision effectively bypasses concerns over Biden’s ballot access, resolving the conflict between the president’s official party nomination and state election certification deadlines.

Statement from OH Dems Chair Liz Walters, “Once again, Republican politicians at the statehouse are playing politics with our democracy by trying to prevent Ohio voters from choosing who they want to be president, but Democrats will not trade Ohioans’ ability to hold their government accountable for presidential ballot access. Just like when they attempted to take away our rights and freedoms last year, Ohio Republicans have shown their blatant disregard for the rights of voters, and we won’t let them get away with another effort to hold our democracy hostage.”

Ohio law mandates that political parties confirm their presidential candidates 90 days before the general election, a deadline set for August 7th. While Biden’s official nomination by the DNC is scheduled for August 19th, after the state’s deadline, the DNC’s innovative approach ensures that Biden receives the nomination before Ohio’s deadline.

Governor Dewine said, “I congratulate the Ohio Senate on passing a bill today to both put President Biden on the November ballot, as well as taking strong action to ban foreign contributions in Ohio campaigns. They are both the right thing to do. I have been taken aback by how many officials and special interest groups have come out against efforts to ban potential foreign support for ballot initiatives. A reasonable person would conclude from these statements that there are individuals who likely intend to put foreign money into ballot measures this fall and that groups promoting these initiatives might be relying on such support from foreign sources. A foreign contribution ban is needed in Ohio right away to protect the integrity of the Ohio Constitution, our November election, and all future elections.”

The bill hit Dewines desk this week and he signed it on Sunday making it law.