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Virtual roll call at Democratic convention delights with digital tour of U.S.

Democrats took their roll call on the road this year, turning a mostly sleepy procedural moment into a heartwarming virtual tour.
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Democrats took their roll call on the road this year, turning a mostly sleepy procedural moment into a heartwarming virtual tour of the United States of America.

Convention roll calls — when each state comes forward and announces how many delegates it is awarding to each candidate — are known for being lengthy and sometimes tedious during the in-person event, as each state likes to use its brief speaking time to talk itself up.

But this year's Democratic National Convention announced its delegate allocation with a video showing stunning views, personal stories and even a few cows as representatives of the state delegations took viewers at home on a rapid tour of the country.

Representatives of the California delegation talked about ending pollution while standing on a windy beach, while Rhode Island promptly became a fan favorite when its representatives stood on a beach and showed off a large platter of fried calamari.

"The calamari comeback state of Rhode Island casts one vote for Bernie Sanders and 34 votes for the next president, Joe Biden," Rhode Island's representative said.

For isolated Americans, it was a refreshing spin around the country.

Plain winds briefly overpowered the audio of a young woman in Montana while cows grazed behind her unaware of the national audience. Representatives from the New Mexico and South Dakota delegations spoke Indigenous languages and English, while Puerto Rico's representative made his remarks in Spanish, with English captions.

Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania stood outside Biden's childhood home in Scranton, announcing the state's tally.

In Louisiana, a little boy holding a sign showing Biden's famous aviator sunglasses won the internet's heart.

Some states elevated rising stars — South Carolina's votes were announced by the state's Democratic Senate candidate, Jaime Harrison — while others recalled tragic moments in the country's history. In Florida, Parkland parent Fred Guttenberg spoke about how his daughter was murdered in a school shooting in 2018, highlighting Biden's record on gun control.

Wyoming's allocation was announced by the parents of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man who was tortured and murdered in 1998.

"Joe understands more than most our grief over Matt's death, but we see in Joe so much of what made Matt's life special — his commitment to equality, his passion for social justice and his boundless compassion for others," Shepard's father, Dennis, said.

Iowa's representatives spoke about a powerful storm that ravaged the state, asking for support.

"We also want to ask you to keep Iowans in your thoughts during this difficult time," one of the Iowa representatives said.

Standing by the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where the late Rep. John Lewis was beaten for marching for voting rights, Rep. Terri Sewell called for the restoration of the Voting Rights Act while crickets roared in the background.

"The great state of Alabama casts 52 votes for the next president of these United States, Joe Biden!" she said.

The vice presidential nominee, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, was a fan of the show, according to husband Doug Emhoff's tweet.

Delaware wrapped up the roll call at the train station that has marked Biden's career and his frequent commute as Biden heard the news while "Celebration" played in the background.

"From the bottom of my heart, thank you all," Biden said. "I'll see you all on Thursday."