Technology Helps Keep Election Campaigns Alive During Coronavirus

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As the novel coronavirus continues to spread in the United States, politicians are increasingly turning to technology to get their message out to voters.

Public health guidelines for reducing the spread have led to changes in the political campaigns of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Health officials have appealed to Americans to limit face-to-face contact with others. They support calls for social distancing -- keeping space between yourself and other people outside your home.

With social distancing rules in effect, the presidential election campaigns were faced with an unusual situation. They were no longer able to send out organizers and volunteers to connect with likely voters face-to-face. It has also not been possible for candidates to hold events that can raise millions of dollars for their campaigns.

Eric Wilson is a technology expert working for the Republican Party. He directs the Center for Campaign Innovation. He told VOA the coronavirus health crisis forced big changes, such as the move to completely "virtual" campaigns.

"Just like the (coronavirus) disrupted everyone else's daily life - the same is true of our campaigns," Wilson said.

Lally Doerrer, right, and Katharine Hildebrand watch Joe Biden during his Illinois virtual town hall, in Doerrer's living room Friday, March 13, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Lally Doerrer, right, and Katharine Hildebrand watch Joe Biden during his Illinois virtual town hall, in Doerrer's living room Friday, March 13, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Tara McGowan is the founder of Acronym, a political organization that supports progressive causes and candidates. She agrees that campaign organizers have had to find many new ways to reach the people most likely to support their candidates.

"You're just seeing a lot more creativity in terms of how and where the campaigns are finding the voters they need to get their message across to," McGowan told VOA.

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