MONTGOMERY — Legislation that would allow President Joe Biden to appear on Alabama ballots in the November general election as the Democrat candidate for president was approved by House and Senate committees on Wednesday.

Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen notified the Alabama Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee last week that they must provide a certification of nomination for President and Vice President of the United States by August 15, 2024, to appear on Alabama's general election ballot.

Allen wrote in a letter to Randy Kelley, chair of the Alabama Democratic Party, "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."

"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," he added.

Allen cited the Alabama code section 17-14-31(b) in his letter, which states that the parties must certify their candidates "no later than the 82nd day preceding the day fixed for the election." Because the general election for president and vice president will be held nationwide on Tuesday, November 5, the 82nd preceding day would be August 15, four days before the National Democratic Convention begins.

The bill approved by House and Senate committees on Wednesday would alter that requirement and allow political parties to certify candidates 74 days, instead of 82 days, before an election. Under the legislation, the DNC would have enough time to nominate Biden and Kamala Harris to appear as the Democratic Party’s nominees in Alabama as president and vice president by the new deadline.

“We want to make sure that every citizen in the state of Alabama has the opportunity to vote for the candidate of his or her choice,” State Sen. Merika Coleman (D-Birmingham) said in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

The Republican National Committee’s convention is scheduled for July 15 to 18. Therefore, the Republican nominee, former President Donald Trump, and his to-be-determined pick for vice president will be certified in Alabama before the existing August 15 deadline. 

The bill received bipartisan support in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

“There’s been a good bit of talk about this and a good bit of it on talk radio and all that. I think people need to understand that this law has been on the books since 1975. Communications have improved just a little bit since 1975. I’d like to think that if the shoe was on the other foot that this would be taken care of. I think that Alabamians have a deep sense of fairness when it comes to politics and elections so I want to let everyone know that I will be supporting this bill,” State Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) said during the committee meeting. 

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