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Editorial: June 2016

Democracy works when we vote



The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) launched a major initiative this spring to enhance voter engagement. The goal of the “Co-ops Vote” campaign is to boost voter turnout in areas served by cooperatives by encouraging electric co-op employees and their consumer-members to exercise one of their most basic rights — the right to vote. For information, visit  

For co-op members, one place to exercise that right to vote is at their local electric co-op annual meeting. Eleven of the state’s 16 local electric cooperatives will hold annual meetings this month. This is the chance for members to vote for the persons they want to represent them on the co-op’s board of directors, and possibly on other business matters.

For all North Dakotans, the right to vote takes place on June 14 in the state’s primary election. In this election, voters can support the candidates of their choice in the political party they choose. The candidates with the most votes will advance to the general election in November. The statewide elections are for U.S. senator, U.S. representative, governor, public service commissioner, insurance commissioner, state auditor and state treasurer. If you live in an even-numbered legislative district, you will also be asked to support candidates of your choice for the state House of Representatives and the state Senate.

The ballot will also contain Measure #1. This Measure seeks to overturn an action by the state Legislature in 2015 to allow corporations to own and operate swine and dairy operations, and own up to a section of land. 

North Dakota’s rural electric cooperatives were formed around the vision of serving a widely dispersed network of prosperous family farmers who in turn support rural communities. Because RECs have always believed in family farmers, at our association’s annual meeting in January, the delegates who represent the state’s electric cooperatives reaffirmed this philosophy. Delegates approved an amendment to our “Support for Family Farms” resolution that states, “We support the integrity of North Dakota’s corporate farming law before the proposed changes by the 2015 Legislature, and therefore urge a no vote on the upcoming referendum in June of 2016.”

You can find complete information about the state’s primary ballot at the Secretary of State’s website at (click elections, voters and June 14, 2016 Election). Please take the time to review the ballot, and be sure to understand some new rules that pertain to voter identification when you show up at the polls.

Electric cooperatives work best, America’s democracy works best, when people vote. Exercise your right to vote this month and this year, when the general election is held on Nov. 8.

Dennis Hill, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Mandan. Comments can be mailed to Dennis Hill, NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727 or by email