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Local voter registration groups make final push this weekend

Oct. 19 is the deadline to register to vote for the November election online.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Both President Donald Trump and Joe Biden's campaigns are stumping across the battleground state of Michigan, hoping to gain the support of as many voters as possible before election day. And to back their efforts, local non-partisan organizations like GR Proactive are working around the clock to get people educated, registered and energizes to vote.  

Kathi Harris is the lead group organizer for GR Proactive. She says volunteers are still needed to get individuals registered to vote. She says while they're still meeting hundreds of people in the community face-to-face as done in previous election season, amid the pandemic they're finding creative ways to communicate with voters. From what she's experienced so far this year, voters are both frustrated and excited.

RELATED: How to register to vote in Michigan

"We are pushing for them to do the absentee ballot because its safer than standing in line at the polling place. We're asking them what they're plan is for the polls and that conversation drifts to when you go to the poll, here are the things you need to look for," says Harris. "The younger generation there are so many other things that they have to face right now, with the Black Lives Matter movement and the protesting that has been going on, they're looking at things a little bit differently."

RELATED: Grand Rapids' PROACTIVE holds voter registration event

Another tool typically used to educate and energize voters are polls. But back in 2016, the polls predicted an outcome that was the complete opposite of the actual election result. It doesn't surprise experts like Political Science professor Doug Koopman that voters are skeptical when it comes to polls in 2020.

"I think its fair to be skeptical in 2020," says Koopman. "The way they used to do polls was landlines. Those were public numbers and you could know exactly geographically where you were calling into. Looking at 2016 and why they got it wrong was they didn't predict the low turnout among African Americans and they didn't predict the high turnout among rural white persons who had a high school education or less."

Friday, former professional basketball player and Michigan native Jalen Rose released a non-partisan PSA produced by online publication NowThis News, that features Jalen speaking directly to voters in Michigan about the dos and don'ts of voting, registration deadlines, early vote, and vote by mail details. 

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