According to the US Election Project, approximately 60 percent of the voting-eligible population voted in the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections. Historically, the percentage of the voting-eligible population declines each election cycle as many Americans feel that their vote does not matter. Your vote matters. Voting does not determine which party inhabits an office. Your vote dictates which policies are pushed, whose voice the politicians hear, and whose voice the politicians ignore. Low voter turnout during elections leaves the level of political influence to corporate interests and voters who mobilize over issues rather than the popularity of the candidate.

Amplify your voice. Vote as a bloc.

The lion may be king of the jungle, but its true strength comes from the pack. The same is true in politics. There is strength in numbers.

Political nominees target large, organized groups such as unions. Why? Less effort to obtain more votes. Canvassing the neighborhood takes time and may not result in the number of votes necessary to secure a political candidate’s victory. Attending an organizational meeting such as the local union or a homeowner’s association reaches the same number of people in less time and can result in a larger number of secured votes.

Take the city of Alexandria, Virginia for example. The 2019 U.S. Census estimates the city’s population to be 159,428. Only 7,500 of these residents voted in the city’s last election according to the city’s election statistics. An estimated 3,795 active/retired police and firefighters live within Alexandria, making the political engagement of this labor group rival other labor groups that do not form a union. The police and fire associations’ influence extends beyond the individuals within the association. It touches their network of friends, family, and other related associations which makes their endorsement even harder to turn down.

Union members are more likely to vote and more likely to belong to other associations than non-voters according to the 2013 study “Labor Unions and Political Participation in Comparative Perspective,” by Jasmine Kerrissey and Evan Schofer. Given this information and the multiplier provided by the study, we can assume a minimum 3,900 of the 7,500 Alexandria votes came from a union member or someone they influenced. The group’s voting record combined with the benefits of the associations’ ability to mobilize voters makes them an attractive political target and a formidable voting bloc. An endorsement by the police and fire association can secure a mayor, city council member, or state representative a seat in less time than it would take to knock on all 144,000 doors.

Influence the 2020 election with these four actions. One, help register individuals who are eligible to vote within your community. Two, put the November election on the meeting agenda of your next homeowner’s association or social gathering. Three, mobilize voters through conversation and education; and Four, help people in your network get to the polls.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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