Virus impacts electioneering

Tony Valdovinos, the founder of La Machine Field Operations, said he is prepared to end campaigning all together

By Dillon Rosenblatt and Andrew Nicla | Arizona Capitol Times

From the moment Gov. Doug Ducey called a state of emergency to combat the spread of COVID-19, political candidates, campaign staffs and election officials began to plan how to tackle elections in the coming months.

As public health officials call for social distancing, candidates and ballot campaigns are still collecting signatures with fast deadlines approaching, county recorders are receiving mail-in ballots for the March 17 Presidential Preference Election, poll workers are taking necessary precautions and campaigners are struggling to figure out how to help their candidates get elected in the early-August primaries and even come the general election in November.

All eyes have been on Arizona for the 2020 election cycle as Democrats push for a political shift in the state, but unforeseen circumstances could get in the way of how those ballots will look – at least on a local level.

State and local candidates have until early-April to submit valid signatures from registered voters to get on the ballot, citizen initiatives have until July, and political consultants think now is time to worry about not getting on the ballot.

Tony Valdovinos

Tony Valdovinos, the founder of La Machine Field Operations, said he is prepared to end campaigning all together to protect his employees’ health and safety.

He and his company have made a name as a fierce campaigning effort to get Democrats on the ballot and they personally go door-to-door during the season to increase voter turnout. Under a state of emergency, that makes things difficult especially if things escalate to a point where people can’t leave their homes, Valdovinos said.

He said right now his team is collecting signatures for initiatives and candidates, so the ground game hasn’t taken off yet.

“We’re [already] canceling campaign rallies,” Valdovinos said. “What’s most important is [taking] precaution.”

Valdovinos told Arizona Capitol Times that there’s a lot of uncertainty on what can be done at this point, but he is planning for the worst. He is preparing for a bigger challenge on collecting signatures for ballot initiatives and candidates with events getting canceled left and right.

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