MILWAUKEE — As Wisconsin weathers the worst coronavirus outbreak of any presidential battleground, the state Democratic Party is calling and texting voters instead of going door to door. The Biden campaign’s get-out-the-vote effort in the state is all virtual.
With early voting ended and no time left for a mailed ballot to arrive by the Election Day deadline in Wisconsin, the typically herculean task of reminding voters in person to get to the polls and, in many cases, transporting them there, is being left to an informal group of volunteers like Rita Saavedra, 43.
This is happening as the entire infrastructure of the state Democratic Party and the Biden campaign is focused on calling and texting the small universe of would-be supporters who still haven’t voted.
The total push toward official online campaigning comes as Wisconsin is experiencing a coronavirus spike unlike any other swing state. The state’s daily average case count was the third-highest in the country per capita over the past week. Only one other presidential battleground, Iowa, is in the top 12.
Absentee turnout has soared in Wisconsin, but there are still people in vote-rich urban and suburban areas who have yet to cast ballots.
“It is very weird how we’re going to inevitably have the most volunteers on Election Day, but that gigantic number of volunteers is going to be working to turn out a much smaller number of votes,” said Ben Wikler, the chairman of the Wisconsin Democrats. “There’s a kind of extra return on yard signs and chalk murals and holding a sign near a grocery store and all the things that human beings can do using atoms instead of electrons.”