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2016 Elections

Duval Political Canvassing In Full Swing Leading Up To Election Night

With the Election Day Tuesday, the Duval County Republican and Democratic parties are hitting the phones and doorsteps to try to get out to vote.

Inside the Jacksonville headquarters for Republican Senator Marco Rubio, 26-year-old Michelle Rivera was phone banking for her party Monday afternoon.

“This is Michelle calling from the Republican Party of Florida,” she read from an iPad in front of her, which gave her cues on what questions to ask. “What time do you think you’re going to vote?” and “How are you getting there?”

She’s been making calls like this since August. The worst response is a hang up.

“Ideal responses,” she said, (are) ‘We’re definitely going to vote Republican through and through.”

Rivera said this election is especially important to her because she recently became a citizen. She’s from Venezuela and said no one should take their right to vote for granted.

While she was working inside, many of Rivera’s fellow campaigners were walking door-to-door —and Duval Democrats were doing the same.

“Canvassing the day before the election is entirely about one thing and one thing only: getting your supporters to the polls,” said University of North Florida political scientist Mike Binder.

He said research confirms canvassing — “actual in-person contact” — is effective, and that’s what Hillary Clinton supporter Janet Strauss was doing Monday.

Strauss is in Jacksonville this week volunteering from San Francisco. She said she’s in town for a wedding and came a few days earlier to get people out to the polls.

“Maybe I can help in Florida, a swing state. Wouldn’t that be great?” she said.

Strauss was at homes off of Kernan Boulevard, wearing sneakers and a bracelet decorated with the names of famous democrats over the years.

While on her route, Strauss would stick  an information sheet listing where to vote and when to the doors of democrats who weren't home.

But, a couple houses in, a woman came to the door and said her family already voted.

“I would say that’s a Hillary supporter,” Strauss said. “That’s nice when you have somebody who's already done their job.”

As of Monday, roughly 6.4 million Floridians cast their ballot during the early-voting period. 

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.