Before the COVID-19 pandemic, activists aiming to increase voter turnout could stand in crowded public spaces, go door-to-door and host events to encourage voter registration and participation. Amid a pandemic though, many traditional strategies are temporarily obsolete.
Local and national voter outreach organizations have struggled to adapt to this new normal. Rupi Jain, president of the UNC Young Democrats, said the new circumstances have been difficult for the Young Democrats, considering the greatly reduced number of students on campus this fall.
“Before COVID, we were out in the pit, on the quad and lower campus every single day,” Jain said. “Normally training, organizing, canvassing is all in person, and that’s what makes it so special.”
Living in the information age, students have more access to technology than ever before. Social media and the internet are integral parts of culture now, especially for younger voters. Many organizations are picking up on this, and using the tools they have to create effective polling tactics.
Jain spoke about the ways Young Democrats have been reaching out online: infographics, Zoom info meetings and extensive phone and text canvassing efforts. Similarly, the Orange County Democratic Party has been performing many of the same duties under the direction of Marilyn Carter, chairperson of the OCDP.