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COVID-19 prompts Kane GOP, Dems to hold remote convention, caucus

Local parties to use online meeting platforms during pandemic

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The Kane County Republican Central Committee and the Kane County Democratic Party with both hold their April 15 convention and caucus via teleconference because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On April 15, will we caucus, using online meeting platforms," said Mark Guethle, chairman of the Kane County Democratic Party. "We will have two election managers – sitting six feet apart – and then report back to the state on April 16.”

GOP Committee Chairman Ken Shepro said state election law for established parties requires that the meetings be held on the 29th day after a general primary.

“And nothing has happened to have anybody delay it,” Shepro said. “Legally, we can’t put it off unless the legislature does something. And this is like number 500 on their list of priorities.”

The 110 participants are the Republican committeemen newly elected on the March 17 primary ballot. For Democrats, 120 committeemen were elected.

“At this point, we will hold it by a combination live conference on the internet and by telephone call-in as a back-up," Shepro said. "Several committeemen who don’t have computers will be able to participate via conference call."

Each gathering provides a platform for committeemen of each party to choose their officials for the next two years.

“We’re going to dispense with speeches and inspirational moments,” Shepro said. “It’s not part of the essential business that we have to do. … It will be basically call the roll and people pronounce their vote. It may be a little tedious, but it should work and it will be transparent.”

Shepro is running for re-election as chairman and he is being challenged by Robert Piton of Geneva.

Guethle said they already did proxy nominations and voted using email, regular mail, Facebook and through the party’s website. There were no challengers.

"When we'll be able to meet again, nobody knows – maybe by July," Guethle said.

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