DNC changed to a mostly virtual event

Biden will accept nomination in Milwaukee, state delegations to participate remotely

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Jolted by the COVID-19, the 2020 Democratic National Convention, originally expected to bring 50,000 visitors, national and and international media attention and provide a $250 million economic impact to Milwaukee, has officially been reduced to a mostly virtual event, officials announced Wednesday.

DNC organizers announced plans for a new, largely virtual format that will significantly reduce the amount of people coming to Milwaukee for the event, which has been officially been set for August 17 to 20 and moved from Fiserv Forum to the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee. 

In April, organizers announced the convention would be postponed from mid-July to the week of August 17, allowing more time to determine the best way to host a massive event amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Under its new structure, each night of the convention will be broadcast live from Milwaukee as well as from other satellite cities, locations and landmarks across the country, according to a news release. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden plans to officially accept the party’s nomination in Milwaukee. However, he won’t surrounded by thousands of delegates because state delegations have been instructed not to travel to Milwaukee, after consulting with public health officials. Delegates will instead cast votes remotely, including the presidential nomination.

DNC chair Tom Perez said the decision to go with a mostly virtual convention was made to protect the health and safety of the public, thanking the city of Milwaukee for its leadership during the planning process. 

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“Leadership means being able to adapt to any situation,” he said. “That’s exactly what we’ve done with our convention.” 

DNC standing committee meetings will also take place virtually, with the first standing committee meetings set for the last week of July.  

It’s not clear how many people will be in attendance at the convention’s local proceedings –and who those people will be — but organizers are evaluating “the trajectory and impact of the coronavirus pandemic” to determine how many people can safely gather in person in Milwaukee in August, according to the release. 

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The convention’s large-scale gatherings have all been cancelled. Those three events included delegate and media welcome parties as well as a volunteer thank you party, all organized by the convention’s local host committee.

“Today’s announcement by our partners at the Democratic National Convention Committee demonstrates the Democratic Party is taking their commitment to Milwaukeeans seriously by implementing steps to protect our neighbors’ health and safety, while anchoring their convention in our city,” said Raquel Filmanowicz, chief executive officer of the Milwaukee 2020 DNC Host Committee. “Though the event will look and feel different than we all expected in order to prioritize protecting public health, this is a pivotal moment in our state’s history.”

The entire broadcast production of the convention will be led by Ricky Kirshner, who has served as the executive producer of the Tony Awards since 2004, the Super Bowl Halftime Show, and has worked on every Democratic National Convention since 1992.

Programming will feature people and stories that will shed light on the current state of the nation and Biden’s political platform. 

“Everything is on the line this November, which is why we must find creative and forward-looking ways to organize, mobilize, and unite our party around our shared values at the convention so that we can launch Joe Biden to victory this fall,” said Joe Solmonese, CEO of the Democratic National Convention.

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