Will the 2020 Conventions Be Canceled?

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As we continue to learn about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact around the world, it's possible that the DNC and RNC political conventions (which are set to take place this summer) may be canceled, delayed, or otherwise impacted. At these conventions, a presidential and vice presidential candidate are officially nominated and chosen, and the party sets out the platform of the nominee and aims to unify voters. At the moment, the DNC convention is scheduled to take place in Milwaukee, WI, July 13-16, and the GOP convention in Charlotte, NC, August 24-27. Up to 50,000 people attend each event.

As of this moment, Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez denied that the convention would be canceled and replaced with an online version (this was in an interview taped March 9). "We are working with our state and local partners, and I'm confident that we work a plan that will enable us to have our convention," he said. Regarding an online convention, he added, "We'd have to change the rules...We're not contemplating rule changes." (Voting by proxy isn't currently permitted at conventions.) But he also said that they were monitoring the situation "every single day." Considering that CDC recommendations include canceling events over 50 people for the next eight weeks, and that time period may be extended if the pandemic continues, it may impact events in the summer as well.

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As for the GOP: "The convention team is closely monitoring and coordinating with key stakeholders across the administration...and (federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to obtain regular updates," convention spokeswoman Tatum Gibson said. "We prioritize the health and safety of attendees and have the utmost confidence in the administration’s work and preparations."

At the moment, reports WSJ, congressional district and state conventions are the more time-sensitive issue—that's where delegates are selected to represent at the national level. The debate is currently ongoing whether voting could or should happen remotely, via telephone or online, and what coordination might look like. The decisions made here may be a preview for what happens with the national conventions. Perez said he'd been in contact with states considering rule changes.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, Democratic candidates for president, have begun hosting "virtual" campaign events either by canceling or making events remote.

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