Political campaigns in the age of COVID

Colorado mail-in ballots
Posted at 5:32 PM, Aug 28, 2020

COLORADO — Election day is about two months away- 67 days if you're counting.

With the COVID-19 pandemic changing the way many parts of lives operate, it's the same for political campaigns. Between social distancing and limited crowds, political candidates are going about things differently.

"Knocking on doors is one of the most effective ways to get people out to vote for you," Joshua Dunn, Political Science Department Chair UCCS said. Some political candidates are continuing to canvas neighborhoods, often times in masks and with distance away from front doors.

For the most part, candidates are relying on virtual ways of meeting potential voters, and doing some in person, limited events.

"It does make it much more difficult, I think probably what they're relying on to an even greater extent would be targeted campaign ads, using social media," Dunn said.

While the national stage involves a lot of money in the campaigning process, it's not always the case for some of the down ballot races. In Colorado's state house district 47, which spans parts of Pueblo, Fremont, and Otero counties- it's a competitive district.

Democrat Bri Buentello won the seat in 2018 by about 300 votes. The district was previously held by Republicans in the last few election cycles.

For Buentello, she says fundraising is challenging through difficult economic times and she's making sure her campaign is being cautious during the pandemic.

"It's difficult to balance you know public health and safety precautions with what we need to do on the campaign so we have moved to virtual voter contacts," Buentello said.

Running against Buentello is Republican candidate Stephanie Luck. While not completely new to politics, this is Luck's first general election. She says the campaign is taking precautions with the pandemic- but says she feels voters are seeking out information more so than usual.

"I have never seen the amount of people wanting to engage as I do right now," Luck said, "I find that people are more willing to engage with the role and authority of government.