NRF to Get Out the Vote

Discussion
Aug 09, 2006
George Anderson

By George Anderson


The retail industry has over 23 million people working in it and the National Retail Federation (NRF) wants them all to vote. That’s why the group has launched a voter registration campaign for the industry called “Voting is Your Business.”


“Voting is an important tool that citizens use to elect our leaders and hold them accountable,” NRF senior vice president for government relations Steve Pfister said in a press release. “NRF is encouraging its members and their employees to become active in the democratic process. Our campaign is intended to make that process as easy as possible and to encourage maximum participation.”


Mr. Pfister said NRF and its members are not looking to influence how industry workers vote. (“How our industry’s workers vote is their business.”)


A “Voting is Your Business” web site has gone online at www.nrf.com/Vote2006. Retailers are being asked to link to the page from their own web sites and/or provide the URL to employees.


Discussion Questions: What are your thoughts on the NRF’s “Voting is Your Business” campaign? Should there be any concerns that an industry or employer-sponsored
voter registration program will consciously or subconsciously influence how workers vote?

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6 Comments on "NRF to Get Out the Vote"


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Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 6 months ago

It’s surprising the NRF would encourage voter registration, since its lobbyists oppose laws that would help most retail workers, such as raising the minimum wage and universal health care.

Ben Ball
Guest
14 years 6 months ago

Mark makes an interesting point, but I wonder if that doesn’t go the other way these days? Generally voters can be counted on to vote their own perceived self-interests. But in today’s world of reduced political punch from organized labor, we may be entering a populist driven return to “what’s good for Standard Oil…”

Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
14 years 6 months ago

Although I’m generally in favor of any “get out the vote” campaign, the NRF certainly cares how its members vote, their protests notwithstanding. On their vote page, there is a prominent link called “How they voted,” which links to members of Congress, their voting records on issues of importance to the NRF, and a scorecard. Those that are 100% in alignment get highlighted. Still, this effort is a net positive.

Paula Rosenblum
Guest
14 years 6 months ago

This idea makes me very uncomfortable. I agree with Mark Lilien’s comments earlier.

Kai Clarke
Guest
14 years 6 months ago

Politics, voting and working in the retail environment should not mix. Our right to vote is a personal issue and should never be explored, explained or even highlighted by another group. Someone’s interest is always suspect, and there are clearly issues here which need to be addressed. Using our votes to do this, is not how it should be done, either ethically or organizationally. This is a bad practice which retailers should not be endorsing, since it establishes an ethical conflict.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
14 years 6 months ago

The question was worded carefully it seems – should there be concerns, not will there be concerns. No, absolutely, there should not be concerns but obviously there will be. Some people will always look for ulterior motives and distrust anything and everything even remotely political. Encouraging people to vote is one of the best kinds of community service I can think of and I would like to see more organisations doing it. Far better to do that than to make corporate donations on the assumption that he/she behind the cheque book can speak for one and all.

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