CO-OPS URGE MEMBERS TO VOTE
Electric cooperatives are urging their consumer-members to get involved in politics.
The America's Electric Cooperatives Vote 2012 Web portal has information on all of this year's caucuses and primaries. (Photo By: AP Photo/Chris McLean, Pueblo Chieftain)
With presidential primaries and caucuses already under way, and 468 congressional races this year, the 42 million people served by co-ops represent a lot of votes.
“Every vote is important and we want to make sure the voice of electric cooperatives is heard,” said NRECA CEO Glenn English. “Engaging co-op member-owners in the political process is essential if we’re to maintain a competitive edge in the legislative arena.”
In support of that goal, NRECA has launched a new Web portal filled with information on voter registration, presidential primary and caucus dates and congressional primary dates.
“I sincerely hope every cooperative takes time to add this ‘voter registration effort’ to their website,” English said.
America’s Electric Cooperatives Vote 2012 includes interactive links and drop down menus providing voter information for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
“We want to do all we can to make sure co-op members vote on Election Day,” said Randy Dwyer, NRECA’s director of grassroots advocacy. “That’s the best way to ensure that the voices of electric cooperatives are heard, not only during the election cycle, but in the years ahead.”
Political clout has always been critical to the electric cooperative movement. Broad-based, bipartisan congressional support led to funding for the Rural Electrification Administration in the 1930s and continues to sustain the Rural Utilities Service today. Those agencies, along with rural development initiatives, still have important roles to play in rural and suburban areas across the nation, Dwyer said.
“We’re hoping every distribution cooperative, G&T and statewide co-op association will add a link on the home page of their website to the election center 2012 website,” Dwyer said. “The information available there will help encourage their members to get engaged in the election process.”
Clicking a link prominently displayed on the site provides the logos and coding that co-op webmasters will need to quickly add the link, said Steve Uram, NRECA grassroots advisor. “The nonpartisan information we’re providing is ‘Civics 101,’ really. We just want people to be involved because voting is important.”
The site was activated Feb. 8, and some NRECA member co-ops have already activated the link.
“Co-op member-owners need to know how important elections are to co-op programs. The votes that successful candidates make could have an impact on consumers’ bills,” said Kent Singer, CEO of the Colorado Rural Electric Association.
“Adding the link gives voters an important tool that reminds them that they are part of a national program,” Singer said. “In order to have a good outcome in elections, they need to be willing to exercise their right to vote.”
By Derrill Holly | ECT Staff WriterPublished: February 20th, 2012