GOP thinking outside the box to woo voters
SUMMIT COUNTY – With polls showing national and statewide election races so tight, Republicans party members are pulling out all the stops to get people to vote Nov. 2 – preferably for their respective candidates.Summit County Republican chair Marty Ferris said organization could be the key to Republican victories at the local level.The Republicans have divided their work along the county’s 17 precinct lines, with captains leading the charge to get people to the polls.
Some captains have been encouraging their Republican compadres to obtain voter registration lists and calling people on the need to vote. Others are going people door to door.”Each precinct captain approaches it however they want to,” Ferris said. “Some are more comfortable talking face to face, others are more comfortable talking on the phone. I think we’re trying to get us out there more. We’re trying to contact as many people as we can.”The challenge, Ferris said, is manpower and Summit’s transient community. Many people are just moving to the county for the ski season and aren’t registered to vote here. Others are still on voter rolls but have left the county.But there are many other ways to reach voters.
Throughout the summer, numerous groups of various political affiliations parked themselves outside grocery stores to register citizens to vote. That has, both locally and nationally, resulted in a deluge of work for county clerk and recorder offices, which have seen dramatic increases in the numbers of new voters.Education is key, as well.In Summit County, the two major parties, along with Community Action for Sustainable and Affordable Solutions, have held a series of forums called “Voting Matters.”The Republicans have also held parties to support President Bush, and the High Country Republican Women have hosted numerous Republican speakers throughout the summer, all designed to help candidates get their messages out to the public.
Among them have been the wives of Pete Coors, Bob Shaeffer and the chairs of the Bush-Cheney headquarters from Denver.A challenge for all the parties has been trying to get youth out to the polls.Ferris’ daughter, Emily, is a senior at Summit High School and has been hard-pressed to form a Young Republicans group. The biggest challenge, Ferris said, is getting a teacher to support the group.To engage her two teens in the political process, Ferris took them out of school recently to see President Bush speak at Red Rocks.
“They thought it was really cool,” Ferris said. “I think if we can engage them early on in the political process, they’ll be involved as they get older. Young people are the future of our nation; it’s important to get them engaged.”She acknowledged citizens – locally and nationally – are more engaged than ever in this presidential election season, be it watching the debates on TV, talking about the issues with friends or hitting the streets to get messages out.Ferris believes the three presidential debates have helped Kerry the most, but they also strengthened the Republican Party.”Their messages are clear, they were consistent,” she said of the two contenders. “Hopefully it helped some people who were undecided. We want everybody to make up their own minds who the best person is. Then we want to make sure they vote – early, absentee or on Nov. 2. And we want them to make informed decisions.”
Ferris is crossing her fingers and excitedly awaiting the results.”You just work as hard as you can and hope for the best,” she said.Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or at email@example.com.
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