The Indiana Republican Party has decided to cancel its in-person convention in 2020, Chairman Kyle Hupfer announced Tuesday.
Instead, the GOP will conduct the convention through a live TV broadcast from 5:30-7 p.m. on June 18, followed by mail-in voting by delegates.
“Unfortunately for all of us who would much prefer an in-person convention, COVID-19 and the necessary regulations related to large gatherings will prevent us from having an in-person convention this year,” Hupfer said in written comments.
Hupfer said the alternative plan was approved by a unanimous vote of the state committee after weeks of planning.
“The biggest issue the State Committee has been working on is the impact COVID-19 could have on our state convention,” he said. “The focus from Day 1 for our party was to ensure that our delegates select our nominees for lieutenant governor and attorney general.”
WISH-TV Channel 8 is set to produce, broadcast and livestream the convention from its studios. The broadcast also will be available after the live event.
Gov. Eric Holcomb will deliver the keynote address and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch also will speak.
A third-party vendor has been selected to produce and directly mail the ballots to delegates. An accounting firm has been hired to receive the voted ballots from delegates. The accounting firm is expected to certify receipt and deliver all ballots to a designated counting location on July 10. Each candidate will be able to designate watchers to be in the count room.
Ballots are expected arrive to delegates about June 22. The deadline to receive returned ballots is July 9 at 5 p.m.
“The State Committee waited as long as possible to make this decision and looked at a number of alternatives, including using multiple locations around the state, a delay of the convention, or an online convention,” Hupfer said. “In the end, with a deadline of July 15 to certify our results and the uncertainty of restrictions caused by the virus, the only process that we felt had the certainty of having our delegates select our candidates is the mail-in election that we unanimously agreed upon.”
The Indiana Democratic Party announced in mid-April that it would conduct its convention virtually.