Did you vote in the 2016 elections? If so, you were one of 500,000 MORE voters in co-op territories that went to the polls. You helped turn the tide of decreasing voter turnout in rural areas of Illinois…and our elected officials took notice!

As member-owned electric cooperatives, voting is already in our DNA. It’s how we maintain an electric utility which is responsive to the consumers it serves. But voting also plays a crucial part in our representative democracy. Federal, state and local elections offer an opportunity to exercise a civic responsibility – to select the best leaders for our communities.

2018 is going to be an interesting and important election year, and electric cooperatives have the opportunity to play a vital role in encouraging rural voter turnout and engaging on issues that matter in our communities.

When voters miss the chance to vote, they also lose the opportunity to communicate their concern to our leaders about the issues that matter to us, where 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. These issues will only become priorities if we continue to express our concerns to our elected officials. Registering to vote and showing up to the polls on Election Day are the most effective ways to send this message.

When we go to the polls with the cooperative principle of “Concern for Community” in mind, we instantly improve our political system. It’s a system designed to produce a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” People like you and me.

Illinois’ electric cooperatives have (once again) joined America’s electric cooperatives in continuing the Co-ops Vote campaign 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 the next Election Day.

Here’s what you can do to help. Encourage your friends and family to vote. Visit the Co-ops Vote web site, WWW.VOTE.COOP, to learn more about your elected officials. You can also learn more about the issues that matter in our communities. If you aren’t available on Election Day, November 6, then be sure to vote absentee or vote early through November 5 at your local election office. Call your local election office to learn more.

Co-ops Vote is a non-partisan program developed by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives. You will join with 42 million members across the nation, to ensure that electric co-ops are a powerful voice on national issues that have a local impact.

If you have any questions, please visit WWW.VOTE.COOP or contact your electric cooperative. I hope to see you at the polls!