Biden campaign to begin in-person get-out-the-vote efforts

Jennifer Epstein
Bloomberg

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign will begin reaching out to voters in person for the first time this week, stepping up its get-out-the-vote efforts while observing coronavirus-related safety precautions in the final weeks before Election Day.

Volunteers will begin in-person canvassing this weekend in Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, the campaign said Thursday, with operations beginning in other competitive states next week. Biden’s campaign, which has been largely virtual since he officially became the nominee in August, is targeting voters who couldn’t be contacted through phone and digital outreach over the past several months, an official said.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Amtrak Johnstown Train Station, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Johnstown, Pa.

While President Donald Trump’s campaign has been in the field, Biden’s team had insisted that it didn’t need to do in-person outreach because voters wanted to limit their physical contact with others to guard against the coronavirus.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Amtrak Johnstown Train Station, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Johnstown, Pa.

But with early voting underway or beginning in many states, Biden’s campaign has shifted course. The official said it has researched the best ways to ensure safety and will train volunteers on mask-wearing, social distancing and other safety protocols.

“We’re now expanding on our strategy in a targeted way that puts the safety of communities first and foremost and helps us mobilize voters who are harder to reach by phone now that we’re in the final stretch and now that Americans are fully dialed-in and ready to make their voices heard,” campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in a statement.

The Trump campaign has claimed it knocks on 1 million doors a week.