Democrats Tell Convention Delegates to Stay Home During Pandemic
Signage is displayed during a media walkthrough for the upcoming Democratic National Convention at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

Democrats Tell Convention Delegates to Stay Home During Pandemic

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The Democratic National Convention told state delegates to stay home from the gathering in Milwaukee this summer as the party announced it was significantly scaling back its nominating convention due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, the party’s convention planning committee told delegates that they should plan to conduct their official convention business remotely.

Joe Biden, the party’s nominee, will still officially accept the nomination in Milwaukee, but the thousands of delegates who usually pack a convention hall for the week-long festivities will not be there. The committee said it is working to ensure all delegates can cast their votes remotely during the convention.

It was unclear how many party officials, members of Congress and other supporters would attend the four days of programming.

The Democrats have taken a dramatically different approach from President Donald Trump and the Republicans, who moved the majority of their convention from Charlotte, North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida after Trump told officials in North Carolina he would not abide by social distancing requirements. Despite cases rising in Florida, Trump is planning a three-day campaign event in Jacksonville after minimal party business in Charlotte a few days before.

“Unlike this president, Joe Biden and Democrats are committed to protecting the health and safety of the American people,” Tom Perez, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement. “I couldn’t be prouder of the way our team has organized and mobilized to get out the vote and ensure a successful convention anchored in Wisconsin, and I’m grateful for the extraordinary leadership of our partners in the city of Milwaukee.”

The convention will still include four nights of programming from August 17 to 20, with both live broadcasts and curated videos from Milwaukee and other cities and landmarks across the country.

“Vice President Biden intends to proudly accept his party’s nomination in Milwaukee and take the next step forward towards making Donald Trump a one-term president,” Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s campaign manager, said in a statement. “The city of Milwaukee has been an incredible partner and we are committed to highlighting Wisconsin as a key battleground state at our convention this August.”

The Democratic National Convention Committee also announced Representative Bennie Thompson will be the permanent chair of the convention, overseeing all official business. The committee also said it was bringing on two epidemiologists and infectious disease experts, Dr. W. Ian Lipkin and Dr. Larry Brilliant, to help advise on health and safety efforts.

Given the smaller attendance, the convention is also being moved from the Fiserv Forum, the home of the Milwaukee Bucks, to the Wisconsin Center, a convention center in downtown Milwaukee. The committee is also canceling all official auxiliary events, such as a welcome reception for reporters and delegates and an event for convention volunteers.

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