Every year it seems we’re facing a historic election. I can easily say that 2020 was the most unique campaign of my decade working in politics. Oregon’s vote-by-mail system ensured that voters could safely cast their vote. We don’t yet know the full impact on voters, but we saw 46 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots in this election. That falls squarely in the middle of voter turnout over the last five previous presidential primary election years. That is a good result in any “normal” primary election.
What was absolutely not normal was how candidates sought to earn the votes of Oregonians across the state. All major events where candidates would normally appear were suspended due to COVID-19. Door-to-door contact was also not advised. This had a strange effect on campaigning methods.
We saw a higher usage of tried-and-true outreach methods: television and radio advertisements, along with direct mail. We also saw a surge in new technology for outreach and organizing. Candidates recorded videos for social media and made use of internet phone banks, speeding up the process of calling voters. Candidates also adopted technology that allows them to text likely voters.
Oregon Right to Life PAC also took up the challenge of activating pro-life voters in this unique election. We certainly made use of television, radio and direct mail in our “No on Knute” campaign for the Second Congressional District.
We also helped our grassroots candidates make use of our email marketing platform to recruit volunteers and reach pro-life voters. Our get-out-the-vote effort relied strongly on calling and emailing voters, providing them with the needed information to vote pro-life and safely return their ballot.
ORTL PAC candidates won 91 percent of their elections. With Oregon beginning to slowly re-open, we may see yet another kind of campaign in the fall. We are already working hard to ensure we are prepared for whatever November brings.