Lukas Flippo, Photo Editor
This year’s National Voter Registration Day saw prominent Connecticut politicians throwing their support behind Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
On Tuesday evening, volunteers from the “Women For Biden” campaign helped organize a virtual phone bank via Zoom –– drawing 90 Connecticut residents to make calls in support of Biden. Participants made calls through an automated dialer program called ThruTalk, connecting them with registered Democratic voters in “battleground states” where they hope to increase voter turnout. Earlier in the afternoon, Connecticut senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal held a press conference expressing their support for Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
“This phonebank couldn’t be at a better time,” Blumenthal said on Tuesday. “I was in Connecticut over this past weekend, still reeling from my own personal grief and feeling of loss on Justice Ginsburg’s death. But as I went around the state, what I heard was people are absolutely motivated, they’re fired up.”
The phone banks are held every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and have drawn tens of thousands of volunteer callers across the country each week. Marc Bradley, the director of Biden’s Connecticut campaign, said this week’s volunteer turnout was twice the amount seen in previous weeks.
At the phonebanks, volunteer callers contact voters from three categories of states: states such as Colorado where they wanted to retain voters, states including Iowa that they wanted to tip blue and traditionally red states like Texas where they hoped to gain support. The Connecticut campaign’s volunteer action has two main elements: securing a decisive victory in-state and aiming for high voter turnout in the battleground states. At Tuesday’s press conference, Murphy said it would be a mistake not to focus a large portion of volunteers’ energy on Connecticut.
“We should take nothing for granted in Connecticut,” he said. “We were not the biggest win for Clinton compared to other states. We need to do the work, recognizing that it will benefit other Democrats that are on the ballot.”
The senators highlighted two recent events that played a role in fueling recent volunteer enthusiasm. First, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday from complications with cancer.
“As we begin our phonebank tonight, the critical issues are healthcare, voting rights, reproductive rights, civil rights and liberties, marriage equality, gun violence protection,” Murphy said. “So much of it is the legacy of Justice Ginsburg, and I think that will add to their motivation.”
According to Blumenthal, another Trump term could come with a Supreme Court nominee who may overturn the Affordable Care Act, causing 20 to 30 million Americans to lose health coverage entirely.
Blumenthal also mentioned the weekend’s COVID-19 mortality record –– 200,000 total deaths in the US. He emphasized healthcare as a key issue in this year’s election –– one that would greatly impact Connecticut residents.
“We’re passing today the 200,000 death milestone, a tragic, horrific, heartbreaking marker due directly to Donald Trump’s cruel indifference and his callous disregard for science and for public health,” Blumenthal said. “Joe Biden is the antithesis of Donald Trump in his empathy, his respect for science, his caring for people who are going through grief and loss.”
Blumenthal added that this election means more than just the presidential race, mentioning that a blue senate could greatly aid Biden in accomplishing Democratic agendas should he win the election.
On Tuesday afternoon, Biden’s Connecticut campaign director, Bradley, emphasized that the campaign’s new virtual program allows anyone, including Connecticut residents, to get started with volunteering. Bradley mentioned that there has been a consistently high volume of volunteers for Biden’s phone banks throughout the nation this year.
“People understand what’s at stake here,” Bradley said. “They understand how tenuous times are right now with jobs and the economy. And they understand that there’s a real choice in this election about the direction of our country.”
According to National Voter Registration Day’s website, nearly three million Americans have registered to vote since the Day was founded in 2012.
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Correction, Sept. 23: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the phone banks are held every Tuesday at 7 p.m. The story has been updated to show that they are held every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The story has also been updated to clarify the types of states that voters contact at all phonebanks, not just this specific event,