Alicia Reece had organized “Souls to the Polls” events before, but, in the age of COVID-19, this year had to be different.
Instead of shepherding voters from African American churches to polling places in the Ohio’s hastily rescheduled primary last month, Reece and volunteers for her campaign for county commissioner guided voters through church parking lots to fill out applications to vote by mail, something black voters in particular are not used to doing.
“We’re talking about a culture shift,” Reece said in a recent phone interview.
Democrats nationally are now facing the same dilemma. Success in November may depend on turning out black voters, but a history of facing voter suppression has fueled skepticism among African Americans about voting by mail and a preference to vote in person.
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