Time for advocating Co-ops vote
Editorial BY JOSH KRAMER
Now that June has arrived, our attention turns to public election activities and opportunities. The primary election in North Dakota falls on Tuesday, June 12. This is the first stage of our 2018 decision-making, as we will cast our votes in the primary elections to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, six statewide offices and 72 seats in the state Legislature. On this day, voters from across the state will also elect local leaders in their communities. The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Did you vote in the 2016 elections? If so, you helped turn the tide toward increasing voter turnout in rural areas. Voter turnout in co-op areas increased by 500,000 voters, and our elected officials took notice.
As member-owned electric cooperatives, we already have voting in our DNA. It’s how we maintain an electric utility that is responsive to the consumers it serves. In North Dakota, June could be referred to as “annual meeting month” for our local electric cooperatives – 11 co-ops hold annual meetings this month. These meetings are where member participation in the democratic process is realized, through vital discussions and elections.
Voting plays a crucial part in our representative democracy. Federal, state and local elections offer an opportunity to exercise a civic responsibility by selecting the best leaders for our communities. When voters miss the chance to vote, they also lose the opportunity to communicate with our leaders about the issues that matter most to us – those that impact the communities in which we work, live and raise families.
Reliable electricity, rural infrastructure and access to rural broadband are just a few of the issues we all care about. Cooperative enterprises helped to bring these benefits to much of our national landscape. These accomplishments can only be sustained if we continue to express our concerns to our elected officials. Showing up to the polls on Election Day is an effective way to convey our concerns.
The North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) is joining with America’s electric cooperatives in continuing the nationwide Co-ops Vote program. Our aim is to help get out the vote and insert issues important to co-ops and our communities into the public discussion. This effort will ensure that our voices are heard loud and clear every day, and especially on election day.
Co-ops Vote is a nonpartisan program developed by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the national service organization that represents our nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives.
You can get a lot of good information about Co-ops Vote and why election participation is important to cooperative members by visiting www.vote.coop. Being an informed, dedicated voter is essential to good cooperative enterprise and good citizenship. Join us in voting “Yes!” on making this commitment.
Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727; email to firstname.lastname@example.org.