Democrats to nominate Biden virtually to bypass quirk of Ohio law

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Biden visits the Westwood Park YMCA, in Nashua
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By Trevor Hunnicutt and Jarrett Renshaw

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Democratic National Committee will nominate President Joe Biden as the party’s presidential standard-bearer through a “virtual roll call” ahead of its August convention in Chicago, bypassing a detail in Ohio law that had threatened to keep the president off the November ballot in that state.

Ohio law requires all candidates to be legally certified by Aug. 7, but Biden was not scheduled to be officially nominated until after the Democratic National Convention begins on Aug. 19. Tradition dictates that the Democrats' convention follow the Republican one in July, because Democrats hold the White House.

The virtual roll call will be completed before the Ohio deadline, but the Democratic National Committee did not give a specific date.

"Joe Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio and all 50 states, and Ohio Republicans agree,” DNC Chair Jaime Harrison said in a statement on 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 DNC move comes despite a special legislative session in Ohio this week that Republican Governor Mike DeWine had promised would resolve the issue. Democrats are not optimistic about the special session and decided to move on their own.

It would not be the first time Democrats approved their presidential nominee virtually. In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Democratic National Convention was conducted almost entirely remotely, with the roll call featuring prerecorded messages and live shots from across the U.S.

The DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee will need to vote next Tuesday on a resolution to propose changes to the roll call to allow for virtual party proceedings.

The resolution will then be voted on by the full DNC membership. The measure is not expected to be challenged.

(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw and Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Heather Timmons and Jonathan Oatis)