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Clinton, Trump Campaigns Work To Beat Voter Registration Deadline

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
New Hampshire Public Radio

Ohioans face a Tuesday deadline to register to vote in the November election, and both of the main candidates for president are making last-minute pushes to get people registered.

For more on the "ground games" for both campaigns, and why the Clinton campaign has more local field offices, WOSU's Steve Brown spoke with Ohio State University political scientist Paul Beck.

Click the play button below to hear their conversation.

The below transcript is a automated transcript of the above conversation. Please excuse minor typos and errors.

Tomorrow is Ohio's deadline to register to vote in the November election. Both of the main campaigns for president are busy making last minute pushes to get voters here registered.

We have reached out to the Trump and Clinton campaigns but not yet heard back. Here for more now is Paul Beck, a longtime political scientist at Ohio State University great to have you back on the program Paul.

Paul Beck: Good to be with you Steve.

Steve Brown: Hillary Clinton has a rally in the Columbus area today. What else are her campaign and the Trump campaign doing to get people registered?

Paul Beck: Well they obviously have field offices throughout the state. I think many many more for Clinton than for Trump at least at this point. They're trying to reach out to new voters, people who have come of age. Those were an important group for Barack Obama both from 2008 and 2012, and Hillary Clinton hopes to be able to get a lion's share of that particular demographic as well.

But they need to be registered to vote. Then there are voters whose registration has lapsed, they've been purged from the registration rolls for non-voting in the past or maybe they've moved from one residence to another, one county to another in Ohio or come into the state and new. And these voters of course need to be registered to be able to vote in the Ohio election.

So the campaigns, particularly the Clinton campaign are targeting these voters to make sure that they are registered and then urging them to vote as soon as possible in early voting.

Steve Brown: Why do you suspect Hillary Clinton has a lot more field offices in Ohio than Donald Trump?

Paul Beck: Well she has devoted a lot of attention, a lot of resources to what's called the ground game. Trump has not felt in the past that he really needed that. He didn't have much of it in the primaries and did fine in Ohio and elsewhere, not as well in Ohio of course as he did in some other states.

But I think that the Republican Party itself is concerned with that and will have a major effort to register voters. Concerned more maybe about the down ticket races particularly the Senate race and some of the congressional races that they are concerned about the presidential race. But if they register voters who are going to vote Republican for these other offices the presumption is that they'll vote Republican for president as well.

Steve Brown: Ohio has seemed a little less critical to this election. Both of the candidates have been here but not nearly as much as the candidates were in 2004, 2008 or 2012. Why do you think that is?

Paul Beck: Well the early polls were showing a Trump lead in Ohio. Now the polls have narrowed to the point that at least if you look at the most recent polls the race looks too close to call. I think it will generate effort on the part of both campaigns to come to Ohio.

There are a dozen battleground states, so-called swing states where the candidates are going to devote much of their effort. Of course they can't spread themselves too thin across all of these. So they will be here there are plenty of field offices here on the Clinton side. Fewer as I said on the Trump side, but a very good Republican organization here in Ohio so it will be a hot campaign between now and November 8th.

Steve Brown: Democrats tend to appeal to urban voters and Republicans do better in rural areas. Do you expect that's where these voter registration efforts are taking place?

Yes I think the parties and the candidates are going to go to where they think they're going to get the richest yield in registrants and those are in the areas that you've talked about.

Now the rural areas tend to be if they're growing that all growing very little are maybe even declining in size. The urban areas particularly the suburbs are growing, and so it makes sense to concentrate your efforts where the voters are. And that is this this year around or this year in the suburbs and the big cities.

Steve Brown: Tomorrow is Ohio's deadline to register to vote if you want to cast a ballot in the November election. We've been talking about that with OSU political scientist Paul Beck. Thanks Paul.

Paul Beck: Thank you. Take care now Steve