Party members, political experts weigh in on 2020 voter turnout

Posted at 9:20 PM, Nov 09, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. - Political experts say the 2020 election is historic for voter turnout.

“Never, ever count out the people,” Dr. Eric Claville, News 3 Political Analyst and Director of the Center for African American Public Policy at Norfolk State University, said.

As of 8 p.m. Monday, according to CBS News, both President-elect Joe Biden and President Donald Trump had more than 145 million votes between the two. More than 75 million were for Biden, while more than 71 million were for Trump.

According to CBS, in Virginia, of the more than 4.3 million votes, more than 2.4 million were for Biden. Just less than 2 million were for Trump.

“The American people, when their issues and priorities come to the forefront, they come out and vote,” Claville told News 3.

Claville points to certain things, such as grassroots organizing and messaging around specific issues, for the large turnout.

“Being able to touch people and reach people, where the regular political machine could not go. This was done primarily through social media,” he said. “This also showed the power of being able to galvanize around a message.”

Members of the state Democratic and Republican Parties also shared strategies that helped with voter turnout in the Commonwealth.

“I think this record turnout showed the intensity of this race,” Susan Swecker, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia said.

“I believe a lot of people are interested in our future,” Bill Coburn, member of the Republican Party of Virginia, said.

For Democrats, they said phone banking, texting and virtual events were key.

“The party and our coordinated campaign held thousands of virtual events, communicating how you can vote. How voting is made easier,” Swecker said.

Meanwhile, Virginia Republicans used similar strategies, but said they also focused on direct person-to-person contact.

“We concentrated on the personal door-to-door contacts with a big volunteer effort,” Coburn said.

Claville believes heading into the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial race, we'll see a major push from candidates and parties for votes and impact of mail-in, absentee and early voting.

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“This election has shown us that the pollsters can be wrong, and that you never stop fighting until the very end,” Claville said. “The 2021 election in Virginia is really going to be the first test in the country around voter registration. How voters actually vote to determine if this is a trend or something that's permanent.”