Legislative campaigns will look very different under COVID-19

Apr 16, 2020
Written by Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs

Don’t expect the traditional candidate doorbelling to take place anytime soon. Under COVID-19 candidates and their campaigns will have to adapt how they reach voters.

With “stay home stay safe” orders in place candidates and their volunteers won’t be able to ring doorbells, hold fundraisers, rallies, debates with audiences, mail parties or anything with groups of people in close contact with each other.

Nothing like this has ever happened in my memory of campaigns.

Candidates and campaigns will have to rely on technology to get their message out.

It will be:

  • Good old-fashioned phone calling
  • Fundraising by the internet, with emails, Facebook, and other platforms.
  • TV, cable, virtual rallies and town halls. Debates and forums will be interesting with people calling in or emailing their questions.

WR will have to adapt. We run two political action committees funded by our members’ donations. Instead of in-person interviews, we will have to do it by Zoom, WebEx or by phone.

It will be interesting to see the voter response. Many voters will enjoy not being bothered at their residence by someone ringing the bell. Yard signs can still be delivered to a yard safely. Bumper stickers can be mailed.

Washington State is entirely vote-by-mail. However, some states with polling places are struggling with what to do with their primaries and other elections.

As the COVID-19 crisis subsides, I hope we can get back to politics as we are accustomed, expect and enjoy.