From The Miami Herald
The Democratic National Committee is launching a text message campaign in Florida asking voters to switch to vote-by-mail ballots, as voter registration organizations continue to shift methods and goals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In partnership with the Florida Democratic Party, the national party said it was planning to text over a million people in Florida to push for an increase in mail ballot turnout. The groups also touted buying “tens of millions” of phone numbers this January to boost Democratic outreach.
“We need to modernize our voting systems to protect voters, and our partnership with the DNC to enroll Floridians in vote-by-mail does just that,” FDP executive director Juan Peñalosa said in a statement.
Groups that focus on “Get Out The Vote!” efforts have been scrambling in past weeks to replace traditional forms of voter outreach around the country amid an increase in concern over the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic over the 2020 elections. In some cases, organizations have rolled back voter registration programs, scaled back goals or turned to digital-only strategies to reach voters as they’re asked to stay home.
In an interview with the Herald last week, Peñalosa said the state party expects to register about 70,000 fewer new voters than their original goal of 307,000. FDP said it has already registered 54,000 people, according to the statement.
David Bergstein, the DNC’s battleground states communications director, said he was proud the organizations could implement this “innovative tactic” to reach new voters.
“Some of our methods have changed, but our work to defeat Trump and help Democrats win at every level is advancing strongly,” he said.
The Republican Party of Florida has made some efforts to replace face-to-face voter outreach. Last week, they announced making nearly 140,000 calls in Florida, and digitally-trained Trump Victory volunteers working on President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.
Concern about turnout during the in-person election has also increased since Florida decided to hold its primary election March 17. At least three voting rights organizations unsuccessfully sued the state to extend the vote-by-mail ballot deadline. Last Friday, two poll workers in Broward County have tested positive for COVID-19.
While many progressive groups are looking to mail ballots as a replacement for in-person voting during the pandemic, some experts argue vote-by-mail ballots have a higher rejection rate among young voters, blacks and Latinos.
To register to vote in Florida, visit RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov
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