It’s time to cash in on the changing voting laws

August-September 2020

Jami Jones

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It’s been a hot-button issue for truckers trying to vote – states that don’t allow early or absentee voting without one of a few specific reasons. The restrictions marginalized truckers and removed them from a fundamental right – voting.

Getting the attention of lawmakers, in part, hinges on how often you participate in elections. For truckers, that’s been a challenge in many states.

This fall general election is going to have a very different feel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Heeding caution from health officials about large gatherings, many states are making adjustments to their voting procedures, allowing for more early and absentee ballots and other measures.

Consider it a windfall. In what is arguably one of the nastiest years on record in terms of challenges, one change has potential for truckers to really shake things up.

Think about it. Truckers number more than 3 million in the United States – talk about one powerful voting bloc. And now a lot more of you will be able to participate without scheduling home time. That’s a win for truckers right there.

The trick now is you still have to plan. There are going to be a ton of different changes to voting laws around the country with deadlines to navigate as well. We have a good roundup in this issue to help you out.

Capitalize on this new gift that will give truckers nearly unprecedented access to the general election and apply for those early and absentee voting options.

Over the years there is one thing that OOIDA has preached: There are some things that Republicans are better to truckers about, and there are some things that Democrats are better at. Even more molecular than party, individual lawmakers, who are not part of the party you align with overall politically, who are great champions for truckers.

Once you get your ballot, put on your trucker hat and vote for your best interest, regardless of party. Political action in the trucking realm is all but stalled heading into the election. This is pretty common.

So a good tactic ahead of the election is to get with your lawmaker or the legislative assistant over trucking issues and talk about what’s important to you. They have the time to talk, and they are wanting votes. Ask questions on specific issues important to you, and ask where your current lawmaker stands. Same for opposing candidates. Consider it a job interview, if you will. Lawmakers are supposed to represent the voters, and that’s you, especially now that you don’t have to take time off just to go vote.

It’s hard to say COVID-19 has done anything positive, but the change in voting procedures was certainly one for truckers and one that we need to take full advantage of to keep (or get) the right people in Congress to represent the interest of truckers – and not mega fleets. LL

Jami Jones

Jami Jones has been in journalism since 1991 – focused on the trucking industry since 2000. Whether judging Shell SuperRigs or writing hard-hitting analyses, she covers trucking from lug nuts to legislation – always with the trucker in mind.