Of the 4.8 million people who live in Alabama, 1.25 million voted for Mitt Romney and 794k voted for President Obama in 2012. Midterm years receive fewer voters and on this year’s Primary Election Day that is exactly what we observed. For instance, in Alabama’s 6th Congressional District, State Representative Paul DeMarco and Gary Palmer are now heading into a runoff to succeed retiring Congressman Spencer Bachus. 94k total votes were cast in the district in the June 3 primary while over 302k votes were cast in the 2012 general election. In terms of impacting the result, an individual voter was over three times more influential in the 2014 primary as in the 2012 general election.
Runoff elections typically receive even fewer votes, so your influence in participating is even bigger…
The sixth district is also the most heavily Republican district in the state, so the GOP nominee will almost certainly be the next U.S. Congressman, so your chance to have your voice heard is essentially limited to this Tuesday.
The law in Alabama is that any registered voter may participate in the Republican runoff regardless of whether they voted in the original primary or not.
The Business-Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) works with private sector Alabama employers to engage employees in the political process: to make sure they are registered to vote, that they have access to accurate and unbiased information about issues and candidates, and that they have the information about polling places so they show up to cast their vote.
DeMarco is supported by the Alabama business community. He received a 95% rating by the state’s largest small business coalition. BIPAC’s Action Fund supported DeMarco. While we believe DeMarco’s proven record of working to grow the economy and create jobs is compelling, it is our stronger belief that no matter who you support that all Alabamans and all Americans should take part in the election process.
Alabama employers should never tell their employees how to vote, but the business community can play an important role in educating private sector workers about the political process by sharing our views about candidates and how we feel they would best represent the interests of hard working Alabama job creators and workers. Private sector employers can also help their employees register to vote, know where the polling places are, and allow their employees to take an extended lunch break to vote, or offer flexibility in the work so they can make it to the polls so their voice could be heard. Offering an extended lunch break or allowing staff to show up an hour late or leave an hour early could help more people make their voices heard.
NCAA football may be a spectator sport, but representative government is not. Alabama employers and employees need to participate to make sure that their voice is heard.
Bo Harmon is the Senior Vice President of Political Affairs for BIPAC. He was raised in Selma, Alabama.