Magazine article Personnel Journal

Every Vote Does Count

Magazine article Personnel Journal

Every Vote Does Count

Article excerpt

Issues that impact business have always been part of our political life, but there's a particularly urgent need for HR leaders to stand up and be counted in this year's election.

I was 12 or 13 when I first got involved in election politics. At the time. the local school district was facing a fiscal crisis and there was a bond initiative on the ballot.

The naysayers were numerous and vocal. Political analysts claimed that the initiative was doomed, noting smugly that several earlier bond proposals had been defeated by wide margins. Opponents of the measure argued variously that either the funds weren't really needed at all or that they were, but bonds were not the best way to procure the revenue. Even my best friend told me, during a heated schoolyard argument, that I was taking the whole business too seriously.

I didn't listen to any of them. Instead I took action borne of the youthful belief that the schools needed money and they should have it. I hung signs on telephone poles and marched door to door with fliers to leave at every home I could. When the election was held, the measure was narrowly approved. Newspapers credited its success to an unusually active grass-roots campaign.

I certainly never felt that my modest effort was a decisive factor in the election, but the experience taught me that every vote does count and that individuals can make a difference. That fact was reinforced a few years later when a school board candidate for whom I was working came within a few votes of being elected. I still believe that if we had had a couple more days to canvas neighborhoods, we would have won.

In any case, I've had no patience with voter apathy since. I do, however, understand voter frustration. Part of the problem we face in making intelligent decisions is that the candidates themselves have become expert at communicating in sound bites and giving us flash (which plays well on television) over substance (which doesn't). …

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