Co-ops Vote campaign to kick off at Annual Meeting banner image

Co-ops Vote campaign to kick off at Annual Meeting

Co-ops Vote campaign to kick off at Annual Meeting

Did you know that in the 2012 presidential election, participation by rural voters declined more than 18%? Politicians and special interests take note of such trends. They also know that, in the current composition of Congress, more than 80% of lawmakers have no rural constituents.

This adds up to decreasing influence when vital rural issues are being debated.

In a 2013 speech that was intended as a wakeup call for rural leaders, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said, “Rural America with a shrinking population is becoming less and less relevant to the politics of this country — and we better recognize that, and we better begin to reverse it.”

This is why the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), representing more than 900 member-owned utilities, has launched the Co-ops Vote program. The aim is to increase election participation by encouraging voter registration and turnout.

Duck River EMC kicks off Co-ops Vote during the 2016 Annual Meeting this Saturday, Aug. 20, at the Tennessee Farm Bureau headquarters in Columbia. It is a non-partisan campaign that seeks to make rural residents aware of the importance of casting their ballots.

“We see voter participation as critical to convincing legislators at the state and national levels that rural issues are important. Tens of thousands of people in southern Middle Tennessee and potentially 40 million co-op members across the United States are affected by their actions,” says Steve Oden, DREMC director of Member Services.

“Our combined voices ultimately find expression at the ballot box. This is why we must reverse the trend of declining rural voter participation.”

Drop by the Co-op Votes table at the Annual Meeting to sign a pledge card and receive your ballpoint pen and sticker. Or go to the website https://www.vote.coop/register.aspx to register.