Bay Area delegates prepare for unconventional DNC

California delegates to the 2020 Democratic National Convention say they will be casting votes via computer from home over the weekend for the presidential nominee, instead of traveling to Milwaulkee and experiencing the traditional crowds, balloons and sprawling stage with celebrities and Democratic stars that usually mark the kickoff to the election season.

Due to the pandemic, the DNC convention is being scaled down to the size of a computer screen.

"The DNC hasn't let us know how we'll be watching the two-hour prime-time but we'll be finding out soon," said Rocky Fernandez, who says he's attended five conventions and was elected as a Bernie Sanders delegate from Oakland this year.

Fernandez says he'll miss the traditional breakfast for the state's 450 or so delegates. Instead, delegates will be connecting for coffee through online video conferencing.

"We'll all have to provide our own coffee I suppose, but they'll still have a lineup of speakers, musicians, artists and authors to speak with us," said Fernandez.

This year, Democrats face the challenge of creating the feel of a big tent party without a big arena. The party faces a challenge following a primary that had more than two dozen Democratic candidates championing issues and voting groups across the political spectrum.

That was reflected when the DNC announced the speaker lineup this week. Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Corey Booker and Amy Klobuchar were listed along with rising stars Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama as well as former President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton were also listed.

Some critics noted the omissions of other Latinos such as Julian Castro and his brother Joaquin Castro.

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang was also not listed. Yang's universal basic income proposal was once mocked but has since become a bipartisan reality due to the coronavirus pandemic. The snub prompted tweets of surprise by Yang himself and California Congressman Ted Lieu who blasted the omission.

On Wednesday California Assemblyman Evan Low,  who served as Yang's national campaign co-chair told KTVU that he received a message from Yang saying the DNC was reversing course.

"I believe now he is back on the list and the DNC has rectified this significant mistake, so we are hopeful to see Andrew Yang as part of the national platform," said Low.

Another point of controversy is the attempt at bipartisan appeal with the inclusion of Republican former Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Biden delegate John Trasvina says this will be his first year as a delegate. He says he's disappointed there won't be the traditional energy of a convention, but he's excited by the diversity and Kamala Harris being put on the ticket.

"There will be a lot of different caucus meetings, Latino Caucus, Asian American Caucus,  women's Caucus and of course, there is extra excitement for Californians because Kamala Harris is on the ticket," said Trasvina.

California will be well-represented.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to appear Wednesday with Kamala Harris. former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Governor Tony Evers, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and former President Barack Obama

Governor Gavin Newsom Is scheduled to speak on the final day, when Biden gives his speech.

"We still have this call to action. That this is not just a conversation to the Democratic party but a conversation to the American people," said Low.

Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Jana at and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana