Chip Jenkins

Chip Jenkins
TBA Chairman

GOTV: What does it mean and why is it everywhere these days?

Get Out the VoteIn the final stretches of the 2020 General Election cycle, I’m seeing a lot in the media and, frankly, from TBA staff about GOTV. Because I’m a full-time banker, not a political hack (sorry Chris, John and Celeste), it took me a few beats to remember what GOTV stands for. GOTV is short-hand for “Get Out the Vote,” and, over the course of the next few weeks, you’ll be hearing a lot about it.

GOTV is an effort to increase voter turnout in elections. We all probably have an anecdote about a razor-thin election in our area. For example, an East Texas banker friend had a board member who served as the County Judge; this gentleman lost his re-election bid by less than five votes. Chances are, five people at the bank failed to vote in that election, with disastrous consequences for one of the bank’s leaders. GOTV focuses on educating voters about the fact that elections are happening and encouraging them to take the time to cast their votes.

For the first time this election cycle, TBA has adopted a political plan to amplify not only our political giving, but also our grassroots activity. Grassroots activity includes getting bankers to the polls on Election Day. There are 150,000 bankers in Texas. If each of us voted, we would make a true impact on election results!

The margin in the 2018 race between Sen. Ted Cruz and former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke was less than 215,000 votes. Regardless of where you stand politically, you must recognize that 150,000 banker votes definitely would have impacted these results.

In the coming days, you will be receiving a packet of GOTV postcards from the TBA staff. These postcards explain how GOTV is as easy as 1-2-3.

First, learn about the candidates who will be on the ballot. TBA’s new Grassroots Action Center can help with this. Simply visit www.texasbankers.com/ActionCenter, enter your address and you can find out who will be on your ballot.

Once you find the candidates on your ballot, ask yourself which candidate supports pro-business and pro-banking policies that help you and your customers. If you can’t find a candidate’s position on the issues, call the campaign! I guarantee you, candidates want to hear from potential voters. If a candidate is not interested in spending any time with you, that’s a pretty good indicator of how accessible he or she will be if they’re elected.

Second, VOTE. Early voting in Texas begins Tuesday, Oct. 13 and runs through Friday, Oct. 30. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Third, make an impact by urging colleagues, family members and friends to vote as well. Once you’ve voted, tear off the postcard, send it to a friend and urge them to do the same. If every banker encouraged one family member or friend to vote, we’d quickly turn our network of 150,000 voters into 300,000!

Four years ago, 59.39% of Texas’ more than 15 million registered voters voted in the Presidential election; 59.39% is not nothing, but it’s not where we should be. Join me in making sure Texas bankers GOTV! As leaders in each of our communities, we have a duty to lead by example. I plan to vote early and encourage my staff to do the same. Who folks vote for is a personal choice that I would never interfere with. Whether they vote is another matter — our representative democracy depends on all voters’ participation. Join me in making sure this year’s General Election sees record Texas banker voter turnout!