It’s that time of year again. The days are getting shorter, leaves are changing color, the air is crisp and there is the sound of political ads. Yes, fall is here, a glorious season that most of us embrace and even those that do not, have to accept it. It’s inevitable, just as winter, spring and summer.
With this being a presidential election year, however, the political season is a little louder and more intense. The difference is this outcome is not inevitable like the change of seasons. We can affect the election results by letting our voices be heard.
Do you know which candidate you are going to vote for in the Presidential race? Have you read any books or articles by or about them? Have you read or listened to anyone opposed to them? Have you visited their websites and made an effort to understand their position on the issues? Are you comfortable that you have good quality information on the candidates? Or will you be voting based on attack ads and out-of-context sound bites?
We have to take the time to cut through the media clutter to find the facts and be sure the candidate speaks to the issues that matter to us as business owners and individual citizens.
Why should we make that effort? This year we will vote for the President, Vice President, all 435 U.S. House of Representatives seats and 33 U.S. Senate seats. Add in the additional 67 Senate seats that aren’t up for grabs and you have a total of 537 people who will decide our future. That means 537 people who will speak on behalf of the more than 300 million people in the United States. That is an amazing responsibility.
I fully intend to know a lot more about who these candidates are and what they stand for, whether it is a candidate for President or Congress. Be sure to also tune into the local races going on around you. Just like the national races, thousands of local elections will be taking place in November.
The American Rental Association (ARA) continues to lead the way in the “Get out the Vote” effort. ARA staff members are registered to vote. Early voting and absentee voting are encouraged, as is wearing the “I Voted” label upon return from the polls. Each of us, as business owners, should encourage our staff members to register and be informed voters, too.
Their future is dependent upon our businesses being successful and future policy decisions made by these elected leaders will play a major role in the success of our businesses.
Have an employee meeting to discuss the issues and speak to how the issues impact your business. Address their questions and provide answers that add to their knowledge on critical issues and candidate positions to help them be an informed voter.
Display “Get out the Vote” posters. Make sure everyone has the time to vote. Visit ARArental.org and click on the “Vote 2012” icon to locate “Get out the Vote 2012” information for your use. All the information on the election in your area is available and can be provided to your employees.
We are now in the last few weeks of the election cycle and this time is critical. Most of the undecided voters make up their minds during this time and every vote does count. Many elections are won by just a handful of votes. Who can forget the 2000 Presidential election and the Florida recount? That was a Presidential election that was decided by possibly less than 100 votes. Never underestimate the value of your ballot, or that of your employees and family members.
It is our right and responsibility as U.S. citizens to vote. People around the world dream of having this privilege. The President of the United States will cast his vote in this election and your vote will carry the same weight as his. This is as important an election as we have ever seen. We can make a difference. Let’s be heard. See you at the polls.
Mike Flesher, owner, Taylor Rental Center, Vestal and Ithaca, N.Y., is the 2012 president of the American Rental Association. He can be reached at 607-729-7167 or email@example.com.