The Latest: Wisconsin Democrats cancel, scale back meetings

Milwaukee named finalist for 2020 Democratic National Convention

The Latest on the coronavirus outbreak in Wisconsin (all times local):

9:55 a.m.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party has canceled all of its congressional district conventions and scaled back the planned statewide convention in June due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The party’s administrative committee voted on Wednesday to cancel the meetings and reduce the state convention from two to one day, June 12. It also voted to authorize party chairman Ben Wikler to decide no later than May 1 whether to continue with the in-person meeting at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells or do it virtually.

The Wilderness is closed until at least April 2, according to its website.

The business of the convention will also be limited to include only speeches, reports and election of Democratic National Committee members. That means the convention will have fewer speakers, no caucus meetings, no debates or votes on changes to its platform, constitution or adoption of resolutions.

The Wisconsin Republican Party scheduled its state convention for the weekend of May 15 in Green Bay. The party did not immediately respond to questions about any possible changes to that gathering.

The Democratic National Convention is slated for mid-July in Milwaukee. Party leaders have not announced any changes to that gathering.


9:35 a.m.

Local clerks have sent out more absentee ballots for the April 7 election so far than they did in each of the last four spring elections.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission says that as of Thursday morning clerks have issued 277,824 absentee ballots. Clerks issued 249,503 ballots in 2016; 103,533 ballots in 2017; and 130,041 ballots in 2018. They issued 170,121 ballots last year.

The April 7 election features the presidential primary, a race for state Supreme Court, a referendum on a constitutional amendment guaranteeing crime victims’ rights and a host of local contests.

A number of states have postponed their presidential primaries amid the coronavirus crisis but Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has refused to postpone Wisconsin’s election and is urging people to vote absentee.

Voters can request absentee ballots until April 2.


9:30 a.m.

MILWAUKEE — Harley-Davidson has temporarily suspended production at its three U.S. manufacturing plants after an employee at its suburban Milwaukee facility tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Harley-Davidson suspended production at its Wisconsin plants in Menomonee Falls and Tomahawk and at its facility in York, Pennsylvania.

The company said the majority of its U.S. production employees will be on temporary layoff with medical benefits. Harley planned to use the downtime to do some cleaning and disinfecting in its production and common areas.

Harley has about 2,000 union-represented employees at its three U.S. manufacturing plants.