Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said the party should consider a virtual nominating convention this summer because the coronavirus has led to limits on public gatherings.
“We’re going to have to do a convention, we may have to do a virtual convention,” Biden said Sunday on ABC.” “I think we should be thinking about that right now. The idea of holding a convention is going to be necessary. But we may not be able to put 10, 20, 30,000 people in one place.”
Biden, the party’s likely nominee, also said officials should think about how ballots are cast in November.
The Democratic National Committee has already postponed its convention from mid-July to mid-August due to concerns about the coronavirus. The delay was approved after Biden said the convention should be pushed back for safety.
“I’m confident our convention planning team and our partners will find a way to deliver a convention in Milwaukee this summer that places our Democratic nominee on the path to victory in November,” Joe Solmonese, chief executive officer of the Democratic National Convention Committee, said Thursday in a statement.
The DNC suggested it was considering changes to the format, size and schedule of the four-day convention, which usually involves thousands of delegates, media and party officials all standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a vast arena, as well as numerous parties and other side events.
Biden said the U.S. has “never allowed any crisis,” from the Civil War to the 1918 flu pandemic, to interrupt democratic process such as elections. “We’ve never, never let our democracy play second fiddle,” he said.
On the November election, he suggested a discussion should start now about the process for conducting the vote and whether most ballots will be cast by mail — which he said is not the preferred route.
“How are we going to make it available to everybody?” he said.
President Donald Trump said Saturday that there’s no contingency plans for the Republican National Convention, due to be held in North Carolina in late August. Trump expressed confidence the U.S. would be operating more normally by then.