Cronkite News: Swipe right on 2020 election: Groups grapple for young Arizona voters in new ways

Like NextGen, the Progressive Turnout Project, is looking beyond the traditional way of in-person canvassing to connect with voters in its efforts to elect Joe Biden for president.

To work around COVID-19 restrictions, Progressive Turnout Project focuses on phone banking, where field representatives like Shari Griswold contact inconsistent voters – often young voters – in Arizona from home. As part of the group’s new campaign, phone calls are followed up with a handwritten note.

In recent months, the Progressive Turnout Project has adopted a letter writing campaign where volunteers will hand-write messages to inconsistent Democratic voters in Arizona, asking them to vote.

“A personal letter in the mail really hits home,” said Brianna Westbrook, the Phoenix Metro field director. “It’s a unique way of reaching out to voters because it’s a personal approach.”

Westbrook said the voters that the Progressive Turnout Project speaks to in Arizona have an interest in political issues and the desire to make a difference, but lack either the knowledge or resources to participate in making a change.

“We’re talking to people that don’t turn out (in 2016). A lot of the conversations we have are people that felt like the political system left them behind or don’t know enough about voting,” said Westbrook.

Registration data in Arizona shows how votes are up for grabs. Total registration shows Republicans slightly outpace Democrats, with nearly equal third of registered voters remaining uncommitted to either party, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

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