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DNC to nominate Biden, Harris via virtual proceedings ahead of convention

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is preparing to nominate President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris as the Democratic Party nominees via virtual proceedings before Ohio’s Aug. 7 deadline, and before its in-person convention this summer in Chicago

Ohio requires its parties to certify presidential candidates at least 90 days before Election Day. The DNC won’t certify Biden until its convention, which is scheduled for Aug. 19 – 75 days before the election.

The rare move comes as Ohio Senate lawmakers convened for a special session called by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday to address Biden‘s ability to appear on their general election ballot. Republicans, who hold supermajorities in the state House and Senate, have been opposed to passing a bill that would relax the deadline for Biden without a vote on unrelated campaign finance legislation that Democrats opposed.

In addition, the virtual nomination will mostly likely take away from the fanfare and celebration at the DNC slated to begin Aug. 19. 

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Joe Biden, Kamala Harris

President Biden and Vice President Harris are slated to be nominated via virtual roll call ahead of the Democratic Party’s national convention this summer in Chicago.  (Getty Images)

“Joe Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio and all 50 states, and Ohio Republicans agree,” DNC Chair Jaime Harrison said in a statement. “But when the time has come for action, they have failed to act every time, so Democrats will land this plane on our own. Through a virtual roll call, we will ensure that Republicans can’t chip away at our democracy through incompetence or partisan tricks and that Ohioans can exercise their right to vote for the presidential candidate of their choice.”

Ohio Democratic Party Chair Liz Walters said state Republicans were “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,” she said. “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.”

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio lawmakers gathered Tuesday for a rare special session called by DeWine to pass legislation ensuring President Joe Biden appears on the state’s fall ballot. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth/File)

To conduct the virtual roll call, the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee will vote on June 4 on a resolution to propose changes to the call to allow for virtual party proceedings. The resolution will then be voted on by the full DNC membership in the coming weeks. 

Once adopted, the remainder of the pre-nomination process will follow the standard order of operations.

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“It is unimaginable that a major party candidate for president would be kept off the ballot in a context like Ohio has created, without any legitimate reason, and when literally every other state has come around,” said Justin Levitt, a law professor at Loyola Marymount University. “So in addition to being an unprecedented distraction, this petty partisanship is bound to fail.” 

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“Both candidates will inevitably be on the ballot; the only real question is whether Ohio’s legislators and secretary of state will feel any shame for lighting their constituents’ tax dollars on fire in the meantime,” added Levitt. 

Biden’s problems arise from Ohio’s requirement that parties certify their presidential candidates at least 90 days before Election Day. The Democratic Party won’t certify Biden until its national convention in Chicago, which is scheduled for Aug. 19, just 75 days before the election.


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