In a remote roll call vote at the Democratic National Convention, Oregon casts its votes for president. (Screen grab/YouTube.)

On Wednesday, Aug. 19, Democrats from across the country officially made Joe Biden the party’s standard-bearer in the 2020 presidential election. 

Held over video because of the pandemic, 56 states and territories showed short videos where delegates cast their votes for the party’s nominee. When Oregon’s turn came, Dr. Rosa Colquitt and activist Travis Nelson stood at a Portland transit station flanked by the state’s two senators as they cast 57 votes from the state's delegates for Biden. 

Salem resident and city councilor Chris Hoy was one of those votes. 

The virtual convention was the first for Hoy. The convention was supposed to take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After the in-person event was canceled, the event took place for delegates like Hoy at home with lots of Zoom meetings. But Hoy wasn’t disappointed by the online format. 

“It was awesome,” he said. 

Hoy said that votes from delegates were recorded ahead of time electronically. During the convention, he attended events over Zoom meetings where delegates got together for happy hour or heard from speakers such as Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown or California Rep. Maxine Waters. 

After having long been involved with local politics, he said he was encouraged by friends to pursue becoming a delegate. The party uses a complicated process to select its delegates for the convention. Hoy was eventually elected as a delegate from Oregon’s 5th Congressional District. 

As pandemic-induced uncertainty surrounded the convention as its start date approached, Hoy said that he was advised by its organizers to prepare for an in-person gathering in Milwaukee and to also prepare for the event to be held remotely. Eventually, the organizers opted for a remote convention. 

“It was disappointing,” said Hoy, who has never been to Wisconsin and had looked forward to the trip. “But I was relieved because it was absolutely the right call.”

Hoy said that his first choice for president was California Sen. Kamala Harris, who Biden later selected as his running mate. But he said that Biden has risen to the moment and is confident the former vice president will turn the country around. 

Hoy said that he was inspired by each night of the convention’s programming, particularly Oregon’s roll call vote, a speech by a boy who Biden helped with his stuttering, as well as the introduction of Harris and her family. 

“We are in a really bad place and we need to turn around and turn around fast,” said Hoy. “For the first time in a long time, considering our national situation, I have hope; and I haven’t had hope in a long time.”

The Republican National Committee will be held next week.

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Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.