Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. | Mark Makela/Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Tuesday he wouldn’t be surprised if the Democratic National Convention is rescheduled because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
When asked by MSNBC’s Brian Williams whether he could imagine the nation’s top Democrats all gathered together in one arena 104 days from now, Biden said it was difficult to do so.
“It’s hard to envision that,” Biden said. “We ought to be able — we were able to do it in the middle of the Civil War all the way through to World War II — have Democratic and Republican conventions and primaries and elections and still have public safety. And we’re able to do both. But the fact is it may have to be different.”
Biden has repeatedly rebuffed proposals to delay or reschedule the general election due to the virus, even as numerous states have pushed off their primaries to encourage social distancing. More than 32 states and territories have issued stay-at-home orders in the United States to curb the spread of the virus.
Speaking Tuesday, Biden conceded that this election may still need to include serious adaptations to protect the safety of voters. More voters may opt to vote absentee, and he even said it “may be virtual.” He also mentioned the possibility of drive-in voting, akin to the drive-in testing for coronavirus that has been adopted by some states and countries to protect health care workers.
Regardless, the former vice president was confident that the country could still carry out its presidential election process in time for November.
“There’s no rationale for eliminating or delaying the election,” Biden said.
He also urged secretaries of state to start immediately looking into ways to make remote voting a possibility. President Donald Trump rebuffed Monday a Democratic push to digitize voting, saying such efforts to increase turnout would mean “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
Biden pushed back on those remarks as “absolutely ridiculous.”
“This is about making sure that we’re able to conduct our democracy while we’re dealing with a pandemic,” Biden said. “There’s a lot of ways to do it, but we should be talking about it now.”