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Wisconsin DNC Volunteer Says The Virtual Covention Has Offered More Access

Becca Schimmel
Barriers are up at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee for the Democratic National Convention despite it mainly being a virtual event. Prospective volunteers are now watching it from home, but Jeanne Mueller says she agrees with the move online.

The Democratic National Convention was supposed to include 15,000 volunteers until the coronavirus pandemic forced the event to be a virtual convention. A few weeks before the DNC was set to begin in Milwaukee many of the volunteers were told they would no longer be needed. 

Jeanne Mueller was supposed to be one of those thousands of volunteers getting ready to help at the DNC this week. When she heard the DNC was coming to Milwaukee, Mueller rushed to find out how she could help. She says it was a chance for her to learn how conventions work and be involved in the democratic process. That’s no longer happening in the way she thought it would.

She had never volunteered for a political party before but says volunteering at a convention is "a once in a lifetime opportunity.” She was willing to hand out water bottles or show people to their seats. Mueller just wanted to experience history.

Then, coronavirus cases began rising and the DNC made the entire convention virtual. 

“If it were a year where it was normal, I would have been sad,” she says. “For me, [the DNC] made the right decision.”

She says to hold a large in-person celebration, even with masks and proper social distancing, would go against the promise to keep everyone safe. But the virtual convention has offered some of the access she was looking for.

“It’s almost like it was closed, now they are opening it up and anybody can see and participate properly on a different level,” says Mueller.  

From 2020 to 2021, Jack was WUWM's digital intern and then digital producer.
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