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The move comes the morning after former Vice President Joe Biden, who leads in the delegate count, called on his party to postpone the nominating meeting. This action comes even as states continue to delay their primaries into June.
The two party conventions will now be held back-to-back. The DNC confab will be the week of August 17, while the Republican National Convention is scheduled for the week of August 24 in Charlotte, N.C.
“In our current climate of uncertainty, we believe the smartest approach is to take additional time to monitor how this situation unfolds so we can best position our party for a safe and successful convention,” Democratic National Convention CEO Joe Solmonese said in a statement. “During this critical time, when the scope and scale of the pandemic and its impact remain unknown, we will continue to monitor the situation and follow the advice of health care professionals and emergency responders.”
A growing number of states continue to move their primaries to June, making it impossible for either Biden or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — the two remaining Democratic hopefuls — to amass enough delegates to clinch the nomination.
Late Wednesday, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice moved his state’s nominating election from May 19 to June 9. “We’re still going to proceed ahead on our absentee ballots,” Justice said. “At the end of the day, I want this to be the biggest turnout of all time.”
Several primaries still remain before June. Wisconsin’s election remains on the calendar for April 7, and Nebraska voters are scheduled to go to the polls on May 12. On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge William Conley rejected a request by voting rights activists and some local elected officials in Wisconsin to move the primary, saying it was not the job of a federal judge “to act as a super health department for the state of Wisconsin.” Conley did extend the absentee ballot deadline from April 7 to April 13. The governors of both Wisconsin and Nebraska had reiterated this week that their primaries will not be moved. Georgia and Oregon voters are set to go to the polls on May 19. So far neither of the governors in those states have decided whether to move the primaries.
Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez has called on states to move to voting by mail or other methods that would not disenfranchise voters while protecting their health.
“As our country deals with the uncertainty of COVID-19, it is critical that states provide clarity and not confusion, which could lead to disenfranchising voters,” Perez said in a statement. “In order to ensure the voices of voters are heard, the DNC is urging the remaining primary states to use a variety of other critical mechanisms that will make voting easier and safer for voters and election officials alike.”
According to Perez, the easiest alternative would be for states to proactively mail ballots to all voters. “Additional tools include no-excuse absentee voting, whereby a voter can either drop a ballot off at convenient locations or drop it in the mail,” Perez said. “And, where in-person voting can still take place under public health guidelines, states should expand days and hours of early voting to reduce lines.”
Here are the primaries and one caucus that have been postponed so far:
- Ohio: March 17 primary moved to June 2.
- Georgia: March 24 primary moved to May 19.
- Puerto Rico: March 29 primary moved to April 26.
- Alaska and Hawaii: April 4 primary changed from in-person voting to mail ballots.
- Louisiana: April 4 primary moved to June 20.
- Wyoming: April 4 in-person caucus canceled; March 20 was the deadline to seek a mail-in ballot.
- Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island: April 28 primaries moved to June 2.
- New York: April 28 to June 23
- Indiana: May 5 primary moved to June 2.
- Kentucky: May 19 primary moved to June 23.
- West Virginia: May 19 to June 9.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect new information.