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General Election Ballots must be received by November 8.


To download an absentee ballot application, find your polling location or learn about candidates, please visit vote.coop.


“When our parents and grandparents set out to electrify rural America, they didn’t have time to ask the person next to them about their views on economic or social policy. Their economic policy was ‘we need to save this community’ and their social policy was ‘let’s do it together.’ I hope the Co-ops Vote program can help rekindle that spirit of cooperation.” —MEL COLEMAN, PRESIDENT


NATIONAL RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION REGISTRATION DEADLINES


OKLAHOMA PRIMARY Tuesday, June 28, 2016 MAIL: Must be received by June 3 IN PERSON: June 3


GENERAL ELECTION Tusday, November 8, 2016 MAIL: Must be received by October 14 IN PERSON: October 14


ABSENTEE BALLOTS State Primary Election Ballots must be received by June 28.


civic engagement and voter participation in the communities they serve.


The Co-ops Vote program aims to help electric co-op members know when elections are, what’s at stake, and how to make their voices heard.


The initiative will focus on eight issues that are important to the well-being of communities served by electric co-ops:


• Rural Broadband Access • Hiring and Honoring Veterans • Low-Income Energy Assistance • Cybersecurity • Water Regulation • Rural Health Care Access • Affordable and Reliable Energy • Renewable Energy


Electric co-ops are perfectly designed to help address these important issues because they are focused on local concerns.


In southeast Oklahoma where 14 percent of the population are classified as low income, programs such as the Low Income Heat and Energy Program (LIHEAP) are crucial to keeping residents comfortable during extreme temperatures. Electric co-op support of such initiatives helps protect Choctaw Electric members who depend on this assistance.


A new website, vote.coop, offers co- op members information on the voter registration process in Oklahoma, dates of elections, information on the candidates, and explanations of the eight key issues the campaign aims to address.


In keeping with its non-partisan goals, Co-ops Vote will not endorse specific candidates.


Mel Coleman, president of NRECA and CEO of North Arkansas Electric Cooperative, said the program helps ensure the voices of rural Americans are heard.


4 | APRIL 2016 | CEC Inside Your Co-op


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Co-ops Launch Voter Engagement Program


merica’s electric cooperatives have launched a non-partisan, nationwide effort to promote


“We want to make sure our government knows that rural America matters,” Coleman said. “This campaign isn’t about divisive, partisan issues. It’s about real people in real places facing real challenges. It’s about our co-ops living out the principles of our movement: Concern for community and democratic control.”


Coleman cited partisan gridlock in Washington, the explosive growth of money in politics, and the effects of gerrymandering as important reasons for launching the program. In 2014, 318 of 435 House races had a margin of victory of 20 points or more, and 30 House candidates – 16 Democrats and 14 Republicans representing 11 states – didn’t even face an opponent in the general election.


“Elections aren’t won and lost in November anymore,” Coleman said. “They’re really decided in primaries months sooner, when fewer voters recognize the opportunity to vote, fewer participate and only a handful of issues are up for debate.”


This results in a Congress where more members represent the extremes of each political party and are less inclined to seek compromise and bipartisan solutions to problems.


“The electric cooperative movement has always been non-partisan, and our communities are facing too many challenges to have a government crippled by bickering,” Coleman said. “When our parents and grandparents set out to electrify rural America, they didn’t have time to ask the person next to them about their views on economic or social policy. Their economic policy was ‘we need to save this community’ and their social policy was ‘let’s do it together.’ I hope the Co-ops Vote program can help rekindle that spirit of cooperation.”


For more information on Co-ops Vote and the impact of these key issues on electric co-op members, please visit vote.coop.


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