Get Ready to Have Your Say

Voting is the most effective way to make your voice heard, notes NAR President Vince Malta.
NAR president Vince Malta holding "Vote 2020" binder

© Stephen Malta

Can you remember the first election you voted in? How did you feel?

June 6, 1978. I was 19 and had the chance to vote for the controversial Proposition 13 in California. [It limited the annual real estate tax on a property to 1% of the assessed value at the time of purchase.] I was concerned that rising taxes were hurting people’s ability to stay in their home. Of course, every decision has consequences, and we need to continue to improve on the fairness of the property tax system. Read about California's latest REALTOR®-backed ballot measure that addresses property tax portability.

What did your parents teach you about voting?

That voting is a fundamental right and obligation. Just as you get up in the morning, brush your teeth, and pay your bills, you vote. REALTORS® vote at a high rate, which is great. In the last presidential election, 74% of members voted compared to 58% of the country’s eligible voters. But it should be 100%. We’re so involved in our communities already and we know why it’s important to elect people who’ll benefit our profession and communities.

What does REALTOR® voting mean for NAR advocacy?

Our collective voice has given us incredible influence on Capitol Hill. Backing that up with votes for REALTOR®-friendly candidates is imperative. Right now, our Leadership Team is talking a lot about fair housing issues. We’re looking at policies, like credit scoring and lending, that can lead to discriminatory effects and how we can change those. We need to make sure policy makers and elected officials understand these issues. Which REALTOR® elected to office really made a difference for our industry? Johnny Isakson, the now-retired Georgia senator. He was the go-to person in the U.S. Senate for real estate issues. He understood how important real estate is to the economy and how it affects people’s daily lives. He influenced a lot of REALTORS® to make themselves heard. It makes me proud when REALTORS® run for office. They’re natural politicians. They’re actively engaged in meeting people. If you run, know that you have the local, state, and national levels of REALTOR® organization behind you. Read about REALTORS® running for statehouse seats.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and the 150th of Black voting rights. What comes to mind about these milestones?

It boggles the mind that people didn’t have this fundamental right, and they had to fight for it or even die for it. We should always be vigilant to protect voting rights. We want to make sure every voice is heard.