Some of the challenges we face during a pandemic while campaigning for politics is that fewer people will answer when they come in contact with campaign volunteers. Signature gatherers find it almost impossible to get people to pick up the pen to sign anything. Political parties are arguing about whether they should or shouldn’t cancel or modify conventions and assemblies. This is the scene of politics during a pandemic!
A major part of campaigning is canvassing and unfortunately, door-to-door contact seems all but, shut down. No one knows this better than Diana Bray, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate who had to receive 10,500 signatures throughout Colorado. Her candidacy depends on the number of signatures she receives.
Many people don’t even want to hold the pen and if they don’t already have one themselves, they won’t sign the petitions. Some even want to know if they can sign online and unfortunately, they can’t.
The Governor of Colorado had to declare a state of emergency, which made the process of collecting signatures nearly impossible.
One of the ways that they have had to get creative when collecting signatures was to go to the person's home and allowing them to sign with his or her pen. The volunteers have gone to the houses of those willing to sign and they remain outdoors and allow them to sign without even touching the clipboard. While this is not an ideal situation, it is better than not collecting signatures at all.
Another problem that many experiences are the inability to get older volunteers, as they are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Many local campaigns have always relied on older volunteers, they are the most politically inclined of the Colorado population. Some senior volunteers are willing to take the risk but many politicians are not, in good conscience, willing to allow them to take the risk.
There are even younger volunteers with compromised immune systems who have had to be pulled off the campaign and replaced. Volunteers have been given the tools that they need to remain safe while working on the campaign, such as face-masks and hand sanitizer. Keeping these things with them not only helps to protect themselves but also protects those whom they come in contact within the community.
Colorado Democratic Party officials reported lower turnouts during caucuses and even those who were in attendance didn’t shake hands they bumped elbows instead. Gathering signatures and local caucuses are the way to get Democratic candidates on primary ballots. This was not an easy task to do, and even further disturbances are expected in the coming months, as we get closer to the presidential election.
How the future of campaigning will occur, as we approach the upcoming election, one thing is for sure, it will be unlike anything that we have seen before. In some instances, it may be better and in others, it may be far worse. At this point, we’ll just have to wait and see.