Nov 12, 2020

Tucker Martin Highlights Importance of Adjusting Campaigns in the Face of Absentee, Early Voting

Rules changes to how and when people can vote went into effect this year in many states across the country as officials sought alternatives to voting in person on a single day during a global pandemic.

These changes expanded the practice of voting well beyond the first Tuesday in November, which meant campaigns had to adjust. McGuireWoods Consulting senior vice president, Tucker Martin, commented on the shift in campaign strategy in a Nov. 3 article for The Washington Times.

“Election Day is the day early voting starts and every day thereafter,” Martin said. “In Virginia, the first day of early voting was Sept. 18., which means Nov. 3 is the 47th Election Day we’ve had.”

Campaigns have had to spend more money, move faster on opposition research and rally and re-rally voters for months. Before the first polls opened Tuesday, more than 100 million people nationwide had already cast ballots.

“The process now is not a one-day process anymore. It is a six-week process,” Martin said. “In a sense, it gives you more time to turn your voters out if you’ve planned for it. It has become a more thoughtful process and well-organized campaigns will have opportunities to be more thorough.”

He added, “It also means settling on a winning campaign message earlier. Once people start voting, then the number of voters you can affect diminishes from that point and doesn’t stop.”