MINOT, N.D. — As the North Dakota Republican Party grapples with whether or not to hold their in-person state convention amid coronavirus concerns -- last night the party's executive committee voted to cancel, the matter goes before its state committee today, March 17 -- the North Dakota Democrats have decided to hold their convention on Facebook.

That's according to an email sent out by party Chairwoman Kylie Oversen to delegates last night.

One of the delegates was kind enough to forward the message to me, and you can read it in full below.

"All candidates for statewide office, DNC committeeman or Committeewoman, and applicants for national delegate have been asked to provide video introductions or nomination/acceptance speeches. These videos will be posted on our Dem-NPL website and emailed to you all as delegates and alternates. We hope to have all videos posted and available for your viewing by Friday morning," the email states.

"We are planning to conduct electronic voting for all of the above mentioned elections/endorsements. If you or another delegate in your district is unable to vote electronically for some reason, we will work directly with you and your Chair to identify an alternative solution," Oversen continues. "Voting is tentatively set to be open from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. CDT on Saturday, March 21. We will "Gavel In" through a Facebook live video and will share other content on our Facebook page for the party throughout the day. You will not need to signed in or otherwise available throughout this time period - only long enough to cast your electronic ballot. All other online interaction is optional (but encouraged)!"

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The email includes a link to what will be a private Facebook group for delegates and other participants. The convention was originally slated to be held in Minot this week.

By contrast, NDGOP chairman Rick Berg told me last night that his party's executive committee isn't prepared to hold any sort of a virtual convention or to facilitate remote voting.

The two political organizations are in much different situations. The NDGOP has three competitive races for their endorsement:

  • Governor, incumbent Doug Burgum versus challenger Michael Coachman
  • Treasurer, state Rep. Dan Johnston versus state Rep. Thomas Beadle
  • Superintendent, incumbent Kirsten Baesler versus challengers Charles Tuttle and Brandt Dick

The Democrats, meanwhile, have no competitive races.

At this point they don't even have announced candidates for all of the statewide races.

Some candidates for those races may yet emerge, but even if they do, any delegate vote the Democrats hold online is will almost certainly be symbolic ratification of an unopposed candidacy for the endorsement.

I'm sure both parties would rather just hold their conventions as usual, but if I might channel the late, great Yogi Berra for a moment, we are where we're at.

Here's Oversen's email:

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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at rport@forumcomm.com.

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