SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Adapting to a political landscape caused by COVID-19, some Bay Area groups have found a way to help drive voters in battleground states to the polls from a distance.
Since a majority of California voters are reliably Democratic in most years, people drive or fly from the Bay Area to a battleground state to knock on doors.
Not this year.
Still, Aimee Allison with “She the People” has found a way to help women of color cast their ballots. Her group is reaching out via text messages.
“The race to the White House and the Senate will depend on the largest, fastest-growing and, most likely, Democratic voters: women of color; in some key states that includes, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania,” Allison said. “Those states, the turnout numbers of women of color will be decisive and She the People’s network includes heads of organizations that do what we call voter engagement.”
The voter engagement is often done through lively Zoom calls, replete with a deejay. Texting to the music, Allison said she and her colleagues have reached thousands of voters in key battleground states.
“It’s forced us to be really creative doing “text out the vote” parties remotely, as opposed to jumping in someone’s SUV and driving to Arizona which is really the battleground state that’s closest to us here in the Bay Area. You know it’s different but it’s also impactful,” Allison said.
Alex Clemens, a political analyst, is taking a different approach but, also, from a distance.
“We’re all fighting the wars from our home offices, from our sofa beds, from under the covers because we’re too frightened to come out,” he said.
Clemens started Sawbucks Patriots two months ago, pledging that he would help his friends spend $10 a day (a sawbuck is a $10 bill) on viable candidates.
“People were getting requests from Democratic candidates ‘please invest in my campaign’ but they didn’t know if this money was going to be wasted and that’s where I came in,” Clemens said.
After he analyzes a candidate, Clemens sends out a spreadsheet with his picks of the day. The group has donated sawbucks to the tune of $676,000 to 54 grateful Democratic candidates around the country.
“The one way to do it from the comfort of your own home is to write a check to send a postcard to a battleground state,” Clemens said. “A lot of people are choosing to participate in what we have this year which is an extremely television-heavy, radio-ad-heavy election and they can participate in making sure their favorite candidates can stay on air longer and help convince more undecided voters.”