Our world was shaken this spring by something we never saw coming: a global pandemic. COVID-19 took the world by storm and sheltering in place in our homes became our way of life. Businesses locked up, economies shut down, and society almost stood still. Every person, whether infected or not, was touched in some way by COVID-19; it has completely reshaped the way society functions. One of those things that COVID-19 changed was voting. In a typical voting year, voters stand shoulder to shoulder in line, possibly for hours, as they wait to cast their vote. Then, they handle ballots and touch screens to make their selections. Clearly a potential toxic stew of community transmission of the coronavirus, things had to change. Voting has been a relatively consistent and standard process for the last several decades, so, under the rule of a global pandemic, election officials and policymakers scrambled to find new ways to mitigate the threat of COVID-19. For many, this meant reviewing their state’s continuity of government constitutional provisions, continuity of legislatures during emergencies plans, election emergency statutes and election contingency plans at the state and local levels. Officials and policymakers had to address both the practical and legal issues around facilitating elections, while also decreasing the potential for spreading the virus. The two most popular strategies enacted to mitigate risk of COVID-19 while voting were postponing the date of an election, as well as extending the ability to vote absentee (by mail) to all voters, sometimes even requiring it. Source: https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/state-action-on-covid-19-and-elections.aspx Two Ways the Coronavirus Could Permanently Change American Politics The coronavirus has changed the way American society did many things, including the way we vote and hold elections. Here are two ways the coronavirus could change American politics, potentially permanently: #1: Mail-in Voting Many are hesitant to wait in long lines, shoulder to shoulder, to cast their ballots. A poll released at the end of April found almost 40% of adults supported holding elections exclusively by mail, double the amount from 2018, and 56% of people stated everyone should be allowed to vote by mail without having to apply and provide a specific reason. Each state has its own guidelines regarding mail-in voting in the upcoming general election. Some mail absentee applications to all registered voters. Some — like Indiana — mail applications to those who request them. Mail-in voting remains a topic of ongoing discussion within every state and at the national level. #2: Political Campaigning With going door-to-door and holding fundraisers and mass rallies out of the question, politicians have had to adapt the way they campaign for office. Many have turned to virtual campaigns, holding video conferences with constituents and livestreaming speeches. Perhaps the shift to virtual campaigning will become the norm in future election cycles. Source: https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/495761-five-ways-the-coronavirus-could-change-american-politics
Who can vote? To vote in the 2020 general election, you must:
Make sure you register to vote in time for the 2020 general election! Did you know you must register to vote at least 29 days before an election? That means you need to register by Oct. 5 to vote in the general election Nov. 3. If you still need to register to vote or update your address, or would like to check your registration status, visit indianavoters.in.gov and follow the links on the screen. This site can also help you find your polling location, review the ballot and get to know the candidates, and obtain absentee ballot information and other resources. Over 4.5 million Hoosiers have registered to vote. Make sure to join that list. Registering to vote is the first step in assuring your voice is heard on the local and national levels. As you evaluate the candidates and determine who to support, remember elected officials play a very important role in ensuring your electric cooperative can continue providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity. Elected officials from the local level to the state, all the way up to Indiana’s Congressional delegation and even the president, have an impact on your local electric cooperative. You can help your local electric cooperative by backing candidates who support positive energy policies and assist the efforts of Indiana’s electric cooperatives to power the businesses and communities they serve. Let’s continue supporting candidates who support Indiana’s electric cooperatives as they are key partners in helping rural Indiana grow and thrive. Supporting Democracy: Volunteer to Work the Polls Registering to vote and participating in an election are fundamental rights and privileges of living in a democracy. By registering to vote in the Nov. 3 general election, you are engaging in the heart of democracy and exercising your constitutional rights. Want to take it one step further? To further support your community, your country, and democracy itself, you can volunteer to work the polls on Election Day. To work the polls you must be a registered voter and a resident of the county in which you wish to work, and you must be at least 18 years old. Poll workers can earn up to $150 for their service, depending on the county. Our democracy depends upon individuals like you taking the initiative and responsibility to uphold our freedoms. If you would like to serve your community as a poll worker, contact your county election administrator or local party representative. Visit www.in.gov/sos/elections/2674.htm to find out how to sign up. Are Virtual Elections the Future? Public health and safety are at the forefront of people’s minds, and the pandemic has many rethinking what it means to vote safely. Some are calling for increased virtual voting options. Twenty-three U.S. states and the District of Columbia already allow some voters to return absentee ballots via email, and five other states let some voters to do so using a web portal. Many argue that instead of debating whether online voting should exist, we should explore the most secure way to facilitate electronic voting. Electronic voting would not only protect public health and safety during a pandemic but would also expand access to those serving in the military abroad as well as those with disabilities. As we focus on safety and voting integrity, electronic virtual voting options are likely in the future of America’s democracy.
It’s that time again: after months of candidacy announcements and campaigning, Hoosiers will head to the polls to cast their votes in the
Categories: News Releases
Electric cooperative consumer-owners are no strangers to the democratic process. In fact, civic participation is baked into the cooperative experience because the consumer-owners of the cooperative directly elect its leadership every year at the annual meeting.
Categories: Indiana Cooperatives in the News
Indiana’s electric cooperatives applaud today’s announcement at South Central Indiana REMC by Gov. Eric Holcomb that he has allocated $100 million toward rural broadband expansion as part of his Next Level Connections infrastructure plan.
A study released Monday by the Purdue Center for Regional Development estimates Indiana could gain nearly $12 billion in economic benefits if broadband were deployed in the rural areas of the state. The report, commissioned by Indiana Electric Cooperatives and Tipmont REMC and funded by CoBank, further estimates a return of nearly $4 to the local economy for every dollar spent on the necessary infrastructure.