DNC Seeks Rule Change to Respond to Virus Threat at Convention

May 12, 2020by Tyler Pager, Bloomberg News (TNS)
Democratic National Committee Headquarters. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee will decide whether to give convention organizers free rein to make whatever changes are necessary to “protect the public safety” amid the coronavirus pandemic, and that includes changing the format and date of the event, scheduled to begin Aug. 17.

A resolution will first be voted Tuesday by the Rules and Bylaws Committee before going to all DNC members for a vote. The roughly 447 DNC members would vote by mail if the resolution passes the committee. The resolution would confirm that the convention committee’s “authority to plan, arrange, manage and conduct the convention includes the ability to alter the date and other aspects of the Convention in order to protect the public safety and ensure compliance with applicable laws.”

The Milwaukee convention was initially planned for July before being bumped to August because of the coronavirus. The DNC is still planning to hold an in-person event, but the resolution would give the organizing committee flexibility to adapt programming and the schedule to ensure maximum participation, DNC officials said.

Officials said the convention planners are exploring a range of options to ensure all delegates will be able to participate and cast ballots regardless of whether they are able to attend in person.

The Rules and Bylaws Committee on Tuesday will also discuss waivers submitted by five state parties that are having their primaries after the June 9 deadline or electing delegates after the June 20 deadline. The allocation of delegates for these states would not change.

New York is one of the states requesting a waiver to hold its primary on June 23, a change of course after the state’s Board of Elections canceled its presidential primary amid coronavirus fears. A judge ruled against that decision after former presidential candidate Andrew Yang filed a lawsuit.

At least 16 states have postponed their primaries in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Republican National Committee is scheduled to hold its convention from Aug. 24 to Aug. 27 in Charlotte, N.C.

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©2020 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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