People are really into the DNC’s virtual roll call. Maybe it can stay?

Written by on August 19, 2020

Local delegates from 57 states and territories “called in” to officially nominate Biden via video message.


By Shannon Connellan

It’s just like Eurovision, but with more calamari.

The second day of the Democratic National Convention has wrapped up, and in a true sign of the times we’re in, Joe Biden was formally nominated as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee in a virtual roll call.

Local delegates from 57 states and territories “called in” to officially nominate Biden via video message, with some elected Democrats and others members of the public nominated by their state to make the announcement. Running in alphabetical order starting with Alabama and ending with Biden’s home state of Delaware right at the end, viewers were treated to a bona fide cornucopia of background staging choices behind each state representative.

The Eurovision Song Contest’s been doing this type of thing for decades during the judging process, in which each country awards national competitors up to 12 points, with some being more strategic and political with their background imagery than others (seriously, it’s a whole thing).

And while usually, the formal nomination of the presidential candidate at the DNC would take place within an event centre, with each member taking the stage in front of a crowd, social distancing caused this event to run online only. And people watching the virtual event were truly into it.

I didn’t think I’d dig the virtual roll call, without the crowds and fanfare. But this is actually beautiful and kind of kicks in-person roll call’s ass. #DNC2020

— Yael Eisenstat (@YaelEisenstat) August 19, 2020

I’ve been to 7 Democratic National Conventions and was a delegate at 4. This is by far the best and most entertaining roll call vote for nominating a president that I’ve ever seen.

— Tony West (@tonywest) August 19, 2020

This Roll Call thing is actually working? So far, California tops for unparalleled enthusiasm.

— Hemal Jhaveri (@hemjhaveri) August 19, 2020

The roll call is beautiful, and it’s nice to see people in their home turf and be able to actually hear them unlike on the convention floor buuuuut this is definitely a moment I miss the real thing. The energy and cheering and loving, inclusive patriotism. #DemConvention

— Sally Kohn (@sallykohn) August 19, 2020

There were some truly moving moments during the nomination process. Alabama state Rep. Terri Sewell paid tribute to the late Congressman John Lewis, standing in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, where Lewis and fellow members of the civil rights movement were attacked by police in 1965 while marching for their right to vote.

Alabama state Rep. Terri Sewell.

Image: mashable screenshot

Charlottesville resident Khizr Khan, who made headlines challenging Donald Trump and offering up his copy of the Constitution at the 2016 DNC, was selected to cast Virginia’s vote. Puerto Rico’s delegate Carmelo Rios reminded viewers of Puerto Ricans’ importance as U.S. citizens, “something that Donald Trump seems to have forgotten as our island faced its most difficult times.”

Activists Judy and Dennis Shepard, the parents of Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old student who was beaten, tied to a fence, and left for dead in 1998 because he was gay, appeared from their state of Wyoming to formally nominate Biden.

Activists Judy and Dennis Shepard.

Image: mashable screenshot

There were also some interesting scenery choices, with the internet particularly enjoying Rhode Island state Rep. Joseph McNamara, who beseeched a chef to stand beside him with a plate of calamari during his bit, calling his state “the calamari comeback state.” (Here’s a solid explainer on this weirdness.)

Rhode Island state Rep. Joseph McNamara.

Image: mashable screenshot

It was a truly interesting roll call this year, and one people are pretty happy to keep in place in the future. 

Can they always do this trip around the U.S. for roll call? Feel like I’m finally on a trip. #DNC2020

— Nicole Schuman🍕 (@Buffalogal) August 19, 2020

Both parties should always do roll call this way

— Katherine Miller (@katherinemiller) August 19, 2020

This roll call is way better than the usual succession of governors and state party chairs hogging the mic to plug their state’s random food product or outdoor attraction.

— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) August 19, 2020

If you want to catch up, here’s how to watch the DNC online.

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