Wal-Mart voters

Washington Post:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. yesterday launched a voter registration drive aimed at its 1.3 million U.S. employees in what it describes as the largest such effort by a private company.

The kickoff was held in Iowa, a key battleground in the upcoming midterm elections. Workers at Wal-Mart's roughly 3,800 other facilities across the country also received registration forms yesterday. Although the world's largest retailer said it does not want to influence how its workers vote, David Tovar, director of media relations, said the drive was prompted by recent criticism of the company by politicians.

Wal-Mart workers "read the newspapers and see the headlines, just like you and I do," Tovar said. "They recognize there were some elected officials that were saying some things that didn't really represent the company. They wanted to have an opportunity to have their voice heard."

Wal-Mart is working with Democratic strategist Charles Baker of the law firm DLA Piper and Republican strategist Terry Nelson, founder of Crosslink Strategy, on what it has dubbed the Voter Education Program. The company has prepaid postage for voter registration forms in Iowa and several other states. It is also allowing workers whose shifts do not give them three hours to visit the polls to take paid time off to vote. Before the elections in 2004, they received two hours of unpaid time off.

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If they really want to scare the Democrats they should extend the voter registration drive to their customers. The message should be that Democrats want to lower your standard of living by forcing Wal-Mart's cost up and force the company to raise prices.

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