DNC plans to hold virtual roll call to nominate Biden before convention

The Democratic National Committee is planning to hold a virtual roll call ahead of the party’s August convention to nominate President Joe Biden in order to meet an Ohio ballot access deadline.

The move comes after the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature failed to pass legislation to move back the state’s August 7 deadline for political parties to submit their official nominees. The Democratic convention is taking place August 19-22.

“Joe Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio and all 50 states, and Ohio Republicans agree,” DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison said in a statement Tuesday. “But when the time has come for action, they have failed to act every time, so Democrats will land this plane on our own.”

The decision by the DNC comes after Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine last week called for a special session starting Tuesday to pass legislation to fix the ballot issue.

The DNC’s plans were first reported by the Columbus Dispatch and the Washington Post.

A virtual roll call would resolve an ongoing struggle between the Biden campaign and GOP officials in the Buckeye State. Last month, legal counsel for Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose warned the campaign that the convention, when the party is expected to formally nominate Biden, will occur after the state’s certification deadline.

Democrats held a remote vote before the convention during the pandemic in 2020. Under that process, delegates were sent individualized ballots, with all votes cast and counted before the convention officially began. During the convention, the party played a virtual roll call which featured videos and live shots from around the country.

The party is planning to formally introduce a resolution to allow for a virtual roll call next week, before sending the measure for a vote by the whole committee.

In previous cycles, early certification deadlines were resolved without much fanfare. States have either accepted provisional certification from the parties ahead of their conventions or passed legislation to move back the deadline to accommodate late conventions.

Earlier this month, Alabama’s Republican-led legislature moved back the deadline to clear the way for Biden to make the ballot there. Officials in Washington, which also has an earlier deadline than most states, said they would accept a provisional certification.

Ohio officials declined to accept a provisional certification and efforts to resolve the issue legislatively failed. State lawmakers in Ohio voted to move back the deadline ahead of the 2012 and 2020 party conventions.

Holding a virtual roll call is one of several options Democrats weighed to keep Biden on the ballot. While holding part of the convention virtually could distract from the in-person activities, it is less contentious than a possible legal challenge. Legislative efforts failed after Ohio Republicans sought to extract concessions from Democrats.

And while Ohio is no longer a presidential swing state – former President Donald Trump won there in 2020 by 8 points – Biden’s presence on the ballot could be decisive in down ballot races, including Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown’s reelection bid.

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