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Presidential campaigns work to get out the vote, focus on South Bay turnout

Bernie Sanders Barrio Logan headquarters
Posted at 6:09 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 21:09:55-05

San Diego, Calif. (KGTV) - California is the biggest prizes in the 2020 primary and the remaining Democratic presidential candidates are making a final push to turn out voters in San Diego. Much of their final efforts is focused on getting supporters in the South Bay.

"We're putting people out in their own neighborhoods, talking to neighbors they already know, making sure they're filling out their absentee ballots," said Joe Biden campaign staffer Jack Hurley.

Biden opened an office in the Eastlake neighborhood of Chula Vista shortly after the Iowa Caucus. While Biden does not have as big a staff or infrastructure as other campaigns, they have seen a boost in volunteers since Biden won the South Carolina primary. "I want to see change and I wanted Joe Biden to be that change, and that means I needed to get to work," said Russell, who walked in to the Biden office Monday to volunteer.

Bernie Sanders has a large organization in San Diego, based out of its headquarters in Barrio Logan. Monday, teams worked in shifts to train volunteers to canvass the South Bay, focused particularly on San Ysidro. "Our goal is turning out voters that a lot of them haven't actually voted before. So we're mainly focused on turnout at this point in time," one staffmember told the volunteers.

"It was tough in the beginning," said Sanders volunteer France Hanna about his first efforts at doorknocking. "But I realize as I share my personal Bernie story with all the doors that I knock on that I have a lot of commonalities with people."

The Sanders campaign is particularly working to utilize a relatively new law in California that allows ballot delivery, meaning that campaign volunteers can pick up voters' ballots and deliver them to be counted. Because Sanders emphasizes turnout out non-traditional voters, especially young voters and people of color, ballot delivery could provide a boon, making it easier people who perhaps may not have gone to the polls to cast a ballot.

The Mike Bloomberg campaign is also working to reach LatinX voters in the South Bay. "One of the main things we understand about the South Bay is that there is the most potential to turn out voters," said staffer Jesus Cardenas. Bloomberg has teams of volunteers knocking on doors and making calls. "It's going to be a little bit crazy, but it's going to be fun," Cardenas said. "Our goal is to make sure we get as many people out to the polls as possible."