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Dems Plan Virtual Roll Call for Nominee07/23 06:03

   The Democratic Party plans to push forward with a virtual roll call in which 
delegates to its convention can choose a presidential nominee before they 
gather next month in Chicago -- despite Vice President Kamala Harris being 
overwhelmingly favored to replace President Joe Biden at the top of the ticket.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Democratic Party plans to push forward with a virtual 
roll call in which delegates to its convention can choose a presidential 
nominee before they gather next month in Chicago -- despite Vice President 
Kamala Harris being overwhelmingly favored to replace President Joe Biden at 
the top of the ticket.

   The convention rules committee will meet Wednesday to approve how the 
virtual roll call will work, but a draft of the plan was obtained by The 
Associated Press on Monday night. It does not list a date for when virtual 
voting would begin, but Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison said 
the process will be completed by Aug. 7 -- or 12 days before the party's 
convention begins.

   "We are living through an unprecedented moment in history and, as a party, 
we are tackling it with the seriousness that it deserves," Harrison said on a 
conference call with reporters. "We are prepared to undertake a transparent, 
swift and orderly process to move forward as a united Democratic Party with a 
nominee who represents our values."

   He also said Democrats "can, and will, be both fast and fair as we execute 
this nomination."

   Biden dropped out of the presidential race on Sunday, ending weeks of 
fighting among Democrats, many of whom feared he was not up to the rigors the 
campaign -- much less a second term -- following his poor debate against 
Republican Donald Trump last month.

   The president endorsed Harris to replace him on the Democratic ticket, but 
she won't formally do so until nominated by the party's convention delegates. 
The rules of the virtual roll call her party is planning require Harris, and 
any other potential Democrat willing to challenge her, to submit 300 electronic 
signatures from convention delegates, not more than 50 of whom can be from the 
same state.

   The vice president, and any other candidate qualifying, would then have a 
few days to lobby delegates for their support before a virtual vote is held. 
Multiple rounds could be required, but the process would still be completed no 
later than Aug. 7.

   That date is important because it was the original deadline to qualify for 
the presidential ballot in Ohio. Lawmakers there have since changed that, but 
the modification doesn't take effect until Sept. 1 -- and DNC attorneys have 
warned that waiting until after the initial deadline to determine a nominee 
could prompt legal challenges.

   Democrats first announced in May that they'd hold a virtual roll call. 
Biden's withdrawal from the race doesn't change its plans, only complicates 
them.

   Harris is still in the strongest position by far to be her party's nominee. 
Since Biden left the race and endorsed her, the vice president has been backed 
by hundreds of Democratic lawmakers, governors and some of the country's most 
powerful unions.

   While only 300 signatures are required to qualify for the virtual ballot, an 
AP survey of convention delegates from across the country found that, by Monday 
night, Harris has the backing of more than the 1,976 delegates she'll need to 
win the nomination on a first ballot at the convention itself.

   Meanwhile, no major Democrat has announced plans to challenge Harris, who 
would be the first woman of color nominated for president by a major party.

   Democratic National Convention chair Minyon Moore said Monday that the 
calendar made any possibility of a convention floor fight for the nomination 
untenable.

   "An in-person, contested convention simply cannot accommodate the potential 
of a multi-round nomination process for the presidential nominee, who then must 
select a vice presidential nominee, and still meet the ballot access 
certification requirements in each of the states necessary to the Democratic 
path to victory," Moore told reporters. "Once in person in Chicago, we will be 
united as a party."

   Rep. Maxwell Frost, a 27-year-old Florida Democrat who was a leading voice 
for outreach to young voters for the Biden reelection campaign, posted on X on 
Monday: "Just because the VP is such a unifying candidate & getting many 
endorsements, doesn't mean this process isn't open. Anyone can run."

   In 2020, the in-person Democratic convention was canceled due to the 
coronavirus pandemic, and states used a virtual process to formally nominate 
Biden. Democrats meeting in Chicago still plan a state-by-state roll call that 
is a fixture of nominating conventions, although it will likely be ceremonial 
since virtual voting should have settled who the nominee will be.

 
 
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