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Encourage Your Employees to Vote for Pro-Business Candidates

Chairman's Column - October 2014

Dan M. Blaylock
NAW 2014 Chairman of the Board
President, Adams-Burch, Inc.

Well, it is that time of year again. We are only a few days away from the mid-term Congressional elections, the airwaves are filled with an endless stream of campaign ads, and every political pundit in the country is musing — on TV and in print — about who they think will win or lose, and what the outcome will mean.

Historically, the president’s political party tends to lose seats in Congress in the mid-term elections, and if the president has low approval ratings, as President Obama does today, the losses can be significant. So House Republicans are expected to pick up seats in November and strengthen their majority, and Republicans are on track to win enough Senate seats to take the majority away from the Democrats.

And after dealing with years of economic uncertainty and hyper-government activity, employers and employees alike are wondering how the outcome of these critical elections will impact them.

But that’s the wrong question for us to be asking today. Instead, we should be asking: How can WE impact the elections?

While analysts seem to agree on the likely election outcome, they also agree on one caveat: Voter turnout could prove every one of the polls wrong. It seems like a cliché, but every vote counts — and that truly means every vote counts.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon for the presidency by just more than 100,000 votes out of more than 68 million votes cast — less than two votes per precinct — in an election that The New York Times said, “radically altered the political balance of power in America.” And that is only one example of many elections that were determined by razor-thin margins. For example, Lyndon Johnson won his first Senate race in Texas by 87 votes out of almost one million cast, and Saturday Night Live star Al Franken won a Senate seat in Minnesota in 2008 by 312 votes out of 2.9 million cast.

And who can forget that President George W. Bush won Florida — and therefore the Presidency — in 2000 by just 537 votes out of almost 6 million?

None of us wants to get up the morning after the elections and learn that a pro-business candidate for Federal or State office lost by a margin so narrow that a few employers in the district could have changed the outcome . . . if only they had chosen to participate.

If at this point you are thinking that of course you will vote, so you are doing your part . . . are you sure you are doing everything you could — and should — be doing? Do you encourage your executive team to vote? More important, do you encourage all of your employees to vote?

NAW works closely with the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) which has developed highly sophisticated but easy-to-use tools to encourage business-friendly voter turnout. Through BIPAC’s state-of-the-art election tools program, NAW makes information about voting and elections available to NAW member companies and associations. By simply going to NAW’s website at http://www.naw.org, clicking on the “VOTE” button in the upper right corner of the screen, and typing in a zip code, you and your employees can get immediate and real-time information about voting, candidates, and issues.

Encouraging your workers to vote and providing them with information about issues important to your company, could very well make the difference between the election and defeat of a pro-business candidate. Post-election surveys taken by BIPAC for more than a decade consistently show that employees trust the information they receive from their employers about candidates, issues, and voting more than they trust any other sources. In fact, recent surveys have shown that as many as 58% of employees who receive information from their employers believe that their employers should be more active in this effort.

And most important, voter turnout is measurably higher among workers who are encouraged by their employer to vote.

We all know what is at stake in this year’s critical mid-term elections. Policies that the next Congress will tackle — budget, debt, taxes, labor and workplace regulations — will impact the bottom line of every business in America. Business should be doing everything it can to shape those policies, and that starts with turning out the vote for pro-business candidates.