The Keystone State: The Key to Election 2020
November 3, 2020
Decision day is here. November 3, 2020. The state with the spotlight on it is Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes. In recent days, many pollsters and news outlets have said that the Keystone state is the “Golden Ticket” to the presidency. But, you don’t have to listen to them. Take a look at all of the campaign stops that both the Trump and Biden tickets have made to the state the last several days, with Vice-President Joe Biden planning to come to his birthplace of Scranton today. So, what have political parties in two neighboring counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania been doing to get out the vote?
In Wayne County, Republicans typically outweigh Democrats. As of November 2, the county had 9,973 registered Democrats and 20,052 registered Republicans. Mark Graziadio, Chair of the Wayne County Democratic Committee knows this. He said they prepared and executed a four pronged approach to get out the vote: 1. Virtual phone banks: He said they made over 5,000 calls and that there was a science to it. “It was non-Republicans (Independents, Green Party, Libertarian Party) who had a certain score we wanted to use,” he said; 2. Literature drop: About 5,000 door hangers were placed either on people’s doors or if mailed if they were in a development; 3. Postcards: About 6500 postcards were mailed out and 4. The party’s headquarters: Located on Main Street, Honesdale. He said it opened up in early September and they were able to assist people with getting signs, other items and help with voting. “It worked really well. We had a lot of volunteers. We have had a lot of support. People stopping in. Blowing their horns as they went by. It’s much more encouraging than 2016. We are in a heavily Republican area. We probably won’t win the county but our mission is to outperform our registration. We will have people deployed to polling places to make sure there is no voter suppression. We will have people go to the courthouse to watch the opening of ballots. We have also hired a lawyer to be there during the election in case something happens (he pointed out the incident over the weekend in Texas involving a Biden/Harris campaign bus with Trump supporters driving all around it in an intimidating fashion). He will be there if an issue needs to be escalated to the state party,” Graziadio said.
Meanwhile, their neighbors to the west in Susquehanna County typically have more registered Republicans as well and this year is no different. As of November 2, there are 7,268 registered Democrats compared to 16,353 registered Republicans. John Kameen, Chairman for the Trump Campaign, said they have been busy since June and see a bigger vote for President Trump than when he first ran in 2016. “We expect Susquehanna County, which gave him 68% of the vote in 2016, will give him 75% in 2020. There is so much enthusiasm. Double that of 2016. We have given out several thousand signs and literature. We had an open house at the headquarters in Hallstead this past weekend,” he said. One of the issues, if not the major one in Susquehanna County, is fracking. The natural gas industry has been a major player in the county for well over ten years. Vice-President Biden’s stance on whether or not he would end fracking is murky, something not lost on Trump or Kameen, “The biggest issue in Susquehanna County and Pennsylvania is fracking. There are thousands of fracking jobs in
Susquehanna County and a million in Pennsylvania. Biden has been totally wishy-washy on it. It will be one of his targets if he and his running mate gets in.” He said there are 46 polling stations in the county and they will make sure if anyone needs help, like getting a ride to the polls, someone will be there to help them. Kameen said about 5,000 mail in ballots have been received in the county out of the total of 22,000-23,000 total votes for the county. Most, he said, will vote in person.
Both men seem pretty enthused that their candidate will win. “I am encouraged,” Graziadio said. “It remains to be seen. There is a big number of mail in votes and Republicans who said they are voting for someone else. I am guardedly optimistic.” Kameen has no doubt in his mind of the final outcome. “I just think there is so much enthusiasm across the state. A huge turnout of Republican votes, enough to carry him to a win in PA. I am pretty confident he will win PA,” he said.
When the polls close, the real question becomes, will we know at the end of the night who is elected President? Time and patience will tell.