The Ohio Democratic Party is launching a unique canvassing and voter turnout program, which is underway in southern and eastern Ohio, specifically designed to help Ted Strickland.
The program got underway last week, and will run until Election Day. It will hit full capacity this week, at which point, canvassers will be knocking on thousands of doors per day. In all, the canvass will cover 45,000 households and will run from Chillicothe to Portsmouth, Athens to Marietta, St. Clairsville to Steubenville and all along the river.
Daniel van Hoogstraten, of the Ohio Democratic party, said there will be 33 paid staff running the operation when the program is built to capacity, in addition to volunteers. Canvassers use cell phones equipped with MiniVAN, a voter engagement tool that allows the phone to load lists of targeted voters to contact in neighborhoods throughout southern and eastern Ohio. MiniVAN has real-time data on voters — such as which voters have requested absentee ballots, which voters will be receiving absentee ballots, which voters have already voted early in-person — all updated on a daily basis throughout early vote, which he said will allow them to have conversations with voters when it makes the most sense.
When talking with voters, according to an Ohio Democratic Party News release, canvassers will focus on two key messages they say modeling and analytics show are amongst the most persuasive in this part of the state: Rob Portman’s position on trade deals, and what they say is his record of supporting the rich and the powerful at the expense of working families.
The targeted doors are based on several algorithmic targets. The operation is targeting both turnout voters — voters who have a strong history of voting Democratic, but have an inconsistent history of showing up to the polls — and persuasion voters — undecided voters or loose Portman supporters who data show can be persuaded to vote for Strickland. The news release says Portman’s reversal on Donald Trump opens an opportunity to persuade voters who had been backing Portman to now support Strickland.
The operation is in addition to Ohio Democrats’ statewide coordinated field program, which is simultaneously working to elect Strickland, Hillary Clinton and Democrats up and down the ballot. The program has been active for more than a year. Currently, it has hundreds of paid staff, thousands of volunteers and more than 60 offices across the state of Ohio.