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Editorial: October 2018

Appreciating candidates, casting ballots


Josh Kramer, executive vice president and general manager, NDAREC

Thank you, politicians and political activists. Yes, I mean it. I am sincere in my thanks.

By now, I’m sure many folks are tired and fed up with politics, but too often politicians and activists get a bad rap. And yes, they can sometimes be an easy target. But, I am so thankful that there are people out there who feel strong enough in their convictions to run for office or work/volunteer on behalf of someone or something reflecting their beliefs.

These days, political office candidates and campaign workers spend countless hours and take time away from family and friends making phone calls, knocking on doors, walking in parades and doing things that many of us would rather not or cannot do. It takes courage to make another call or knock on another door, especially after a negative interaction. I get it – not everyone is an activist or interested in politics, but hopefully most of us handle our political interactions with kindness and respect for those who are out pounding the pavement trying to earn our vote. Even if we don’t agree on an issue, it is important to listen and try to understand differing perspectives.

With a highly consequential general election at hand, it is critical that those eligible to vote make voting a priority. I would suggest taking it one step further and urge eligible voters to inform themselves prior to voting. It is estimated that less than 60 percent of eligible voters in the United States voted in the past few general election cycles. In our wholesome and proud state, less than 20 percent of eligible voters voted in the 2018 June primary election. The N.D. Secretary of State’s office reported only 115,226 of the estimated 581,641 eligible voters cast a ballot in the primary election.

Friends, we can and we must do better. There is too much at stake to allow such a small segment of our population to determine the direction of our communities, state and country. That is why North Dakota’s electric cooperatives are proud to support the Co-ops Vote campaign (

Co-ops Vote is a nonpartisan project of America’s Electric Cooperatives. Designed to inform co-op members about key issues facing co-ops and rural America, its goal is to encourage members to support co-op matters at the polls. North Dakota’s electric cooperatives are trying to ensure a strong turnout of rural voters on Election Day. For the past few months, cooperatives have been spreading awareness of local and state races by sharing Co-ops Vote resources and sponsoring candidate meet and greets.

In this month’s North Dakota Living magazine, you will learn more about the candidates and their positions on issues important to electric cooperatives and rural America. You will be provided information on important ballot measures that you’ll have the opportunity to vote on in the general election.

In the meantime, please be kind to those who are working hard to connect with you, please be informed, and most of all, please exercise your right to vote. Remember, Co-ops Vote!

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