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Democrats instructing lawmakers, delegates to skip national convention

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In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Democratic Party officials have instructed members of Congress and delegates to skip in-person attendance at their national convention, The New York Times reported Thursday.

“We have been working closely with state and local public health officials, as well epidemiologists, and have come to the hard decision that members of Congress should not plan to travel to Milwaukee,” senior convention committee adviser Chasseny Lewis told congressional aides in an email, according to the Times. “No delegates will travel to Milwaukee and Caucus and Council meetings will take place virtually.”

DNC officials have been moving towards a virtual convention for weeks, and all delegates have known for weeks that meeting in Milwaukee had been called off.

“Ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone involved with the 2020 Democratic National Convention drives every decision we make, and this communication reiterates our guidance from several weeks ago that all members of state delegations—including elected leaders—should plan to conduct their official business remotely. Last week, we sent delegates guidance on how they will vote and we look forward to sharing more details on other opportunities for delegates in the coming weeks,” Democratic National Convention Committee spokeswoman Katie Peters told The Hill in an emailed statement.

The announcement means the only major aspects of the convention taking place on site in Milwaukee will likely be former Vice President Joe Biden’s and his vice presidential nominee’s addresses. Other aspects, such as voting on the national party platform, will take place remotely if at all.

The pandemic had previously forced the party to move the physical convention site from the city’s Fiserv Forum basketball arena to the smaller Wisconsin Center, which has not hosted a national party convention since the 2004 Green Party.

The news comes as Republican officials have been forced to make similar accommodations for the Republican National Convention, first moving it to Jacksonville, Fla., and on Thursday announcing attendance will be limited to regular delegates, or about 2,500 people, for the first three days.

“I want to make clear that we still intend to host a fantastic convention celebration in Jacksonville,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote. “We can gather and put on a top-notch event that celebrates the incredible accomplishments of President Trump’s administration and his re-nomination for a second term — while also doing so in a safe and responsible manner.”

Updated at 11:10 p.m.

Tags 2020 Democratic convention 2020 republican convention Coronavirus Donald Trump Joe Biden Ronna McDaniel
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