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Dems, GOP relying on tech to register voters this fall

Posted at 7:11 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 10:10:52-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The pandemic has made efforts to get out the vote difficult for both parties, but Democrats and Republicans are still hitting the street when they can. And using tech to get people registered and educated.

“The standard, golden rule in politics is there’s no substitute for door-to-door canvassing, for talking to voters face-to-face,” said Gary Stark, chair of the Kent County Democrats, “and we always think we can do that. But we’re all facing the same kinds of constraints.”

Both the Democratic party and GOP have their own registration websites. They’ve been around for a while, but their importance is renewed this year with the pandemic hampering efforts to door-to-door canvass.

“We’re getting out how we can, obviously you have to do it very carefully…you have to do it with masks and distance and being respectful of people who want to keep their distance,” said Joel Freeman, chair of the Kent GOP. “So it’s kind of an all-of-the-above approach this year but yes, certainly going digital and going by mail is a much bigger factor this year.”

“We have been reluctant to [canvass] because of the governor’s guidelines and the dangers of that and the uncertainty of how that would be received,” said Stark. “Many people don’t want people – strangers – knocking on their door.”

Key Dates and Deadlines

Thursday, Sept. 24: Early voting begins, absentee ballots begin being mailed
Monday, Oct. 19: Online, postmarked-by voter registration deadline
Tuesday, Oct. 20 through 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3: In-person registration allowed with local clerk
Friday, Oct. 30 at 5 p.m.: Deadline to request absentee ballot by mail
Monday, Nov. 2: Absentee/mail-in postmarked-by deadline
Tuesday, Nov. 3: In-person voting