Door-to-door canvassing, that most grassroots form of campaigning, was an early victim of the coronavirus pandemic. Its departure sank several U.S. Senate campaigns in the spring.
Now canvassing is returning, albeit slowly. Progressive Turnout Project, a Democratic group that spends tens of millions of dollars on canvassing, will begin knocking on Colorado doors Saturday.
“It will be interesting to see who comes to their door right now, but on the positive side, we anticipate more people than ever before are home. So, we anticipate our (outreach) numbers may even be higher than they’ve been before,” said Alex Morgan, the group’s executive director.
PTP has spent the past few months consulting with an infectious disease expert and perfecting its approach. Canvassers, wearing masks that say “Voting Matters,” will knock and then take several big steps back to ensure distancing.
After each interaction, they’ll use hand sanitizer.
The group will focus on the U.S. Senate race and the presidential contest. It isn’t taking a side in the Democratic primary between John Hickenlooper and Andrew Romanoff; its only priority is getting voters to turn out in November. PTP seeks out Democrats who often skip elections.
“The bulk of these folks are in the Denver metro area,” Morgan says. “We’re going to have three offices in the Denver area, one in Boulder and one in Colorado Springs. Overall, we’re making a (roughly) $2 million investment in the state, with 66 staff who will be knocking almost 700,000 doors” this year.
PTP will not be the first group to restart canvassing when its staffers pound pavement Saturday. The Republican National Committee and President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign have been knocking on doors here since June 8. They have 30 staffers spanning the state and follow similar guidelines to PTP: social distancing of at least six feet, along with mandatory masks.