Major Political Parties Launch Final Voter Turnout Push
Both major political parties are in the last-ditch push to get their voters to return early ballots or to turn out on Election Day Nov. 4.
Matt Borges, chair of the Ohio Republican Party, says the party learned a lot from losing the races for president and U.S. Senator in 2012.
“I’m not saying we’ve solved every single problem, but I think we had to take an assessment of how we could do things better, how we could invest in data, how we could make sure we could try to turn out low low-propensity voters and we’re seeing results from that,” he said.
At a union hall in northern Columbus, Democratic volunteers getting ready to start their phone bank shift got a visit from their candidate for governor, Ed FitzGerald. He’s behind by double digits and has made several campaign stumbles, but he still fired up the group.
“We’ve had well over a million voter contacts in the last month,” said Fitzgerald. Coordinated campaign director Lauren Harmon says the Ohio Democratic Party is knocking on doors, making phone calls and recruiting volunteers “relentlessly.”
“Our technology has actually been one of the Democrats’ strongest fronts in this elections—just something that we do really well,” she said. “We know more about our voters than the other side of the aisle because we’ve been collecting data on our folks and what moves them to get out to vote for ten years, and we’re bringing that all to bear in 2014.”
Both parties make use of public records and technology to determine who hasn’t voted, who will receive calls or home visits Harmon calls “knock and drags.”
“We’re not reinventing the wheel,” she said. “We’re just making sure that we’re being really smart and targeted about who we talk to. In a year like this, we want to make sure that we’re not wasting a single dollar or a single hour of volunteer time; we want to only be talking to the folks that we know we can really move the needle with.”
And Borges says even though Republican statewide candidates are leading in the polls, there are other races that are much closer, and he says that keeps his volunteers going.
“I think that’s one of the key differences between us and the other side. We take nothing for granted, and we’ve swept four of the last five statewide tickets,” he said. “Knock on wood, we’re poised to make it five out of six. The other side takes everything for granted, and their record speaks for itself.”
Both parties also say they’ll be telling voters that this is the only weekend they can cast ballots in person early: Polls are open Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.