Democratic Officials Tell Members Of Congress Not To Show Up In Person For Convention

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 28: on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 28: Balloons fall over delegates and attendees at the end of the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democr... PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 28: Balloons fall over delegates and attendees at the end of the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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July 17, 2020 7:58 a.m.

The Democratic National Convention Committee said Thursday that members of Congress should not plan to travel to Milwaukee for this year’s convention, reaffirming its previous recommendation that all members of state delegations prepare to participate remotely.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, is still expected to accept the party’s nomination and deliver his acceptance speech from Milwaukee, but most of the convention’s other programming will be conducted virtually.

“We have been working closely with state and local public health officials, as well (as) epidemiologists, and have come to the hard decision that members of Congress should not plan to travel to Milwaukee,” wrote Chasseny Lewis, a member of the convention committee, in an email to congressional aides obtained by The New York Times. “No delegates will travel to Milwaukee and Caucus and Council meetings will take place virtually.”

Last week, event coordinators also informed state parties and convention delegates that they would be allotted close to two weeks for virtual voting ahead of the convention, which is slated to take place August 17-20.

A spokesperson for the convention committee, Katie Peters, said Thursday that “ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone involved” was the driving force in all of the decision making leading up to the gathering. “All members of state delegations—including elected leaders—should plan to conduct their official business remotely.” Peters said.

Back in June, Democrats had said their convention this year would be scaled back after already delaying the gathering by a month due to concerns about spreading the coronavirus as cases surge in hotspots around the country. At that time organizers were discouraging delegates from attending the event in person and opted to move the gathering from Fiserv Forum, the city’s professional basketball arena, to the Wisconsin Center, a much more modest venue. The reimagined event was pitched as a “Convention Across America,” with speeches, music and appearances from various locations across the country.

Republican convention leaders also announced this week that they are planning to hold a scaled-back national convention in Jacksonville, Florida. Delegates are still expected to attend the GOP gathering in person although several top Republicans have announced that they will not attend. 

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