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Are you ready to vote June 2?

Feb. 3, 2020

It’s that time again: after months of candidacy announcements and campaigning, Hoosiers will head to the polls to cast their votes in the

2020 Indiana primary election, which has been rescheduled for June 2. The choices made in the primary will determine which candidates will represent their party on the ballot in November, from state representative all the way up to the president. As you assess candidates to earn your support, remember elected officials play a significant role in ensuring your electric cooperative can continue to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity. Indiana’s electric cooperatives serve communities across the state that are represented by more than 100 legislators in the Indiana General Assembly, as well as all nine members of Indiana’s Congressional delegation. For that reason, it’s important to have an understanding about where the candidates stand on key issues. The opportunities and obstacles faced by electric cooperatives and their consumer-owners are important to consider as you determine which candidate is best positioned to help your electric cooperative – and the communities it serves – grow and thrive. A critically important and ongoing policy issue faced by cooperatives across the state is the delivery of high-speed internet access to all Hoosiers, regardless of where they live. Indiana’s electric cooperatives have taken a lead role in resolving the barriers to delivering high-speed internet access to the communities they serve, either as new retail providers or in partnership with other organizations working to narrow the digital divide. These projects would not be feasible without the support of elected officials at both the Indiana Statehouse and in Congress. Over the past three years, both the Indiana General Assembly and Indiana’s Congressional delegation have removed bureaucratic hurdles to encourage broadband technology investments and created grant programs to help offset the costs of deploying a fiber infrastructure. You can help by supporting candidates who support rural broadband access expansion. Another important policy issue is understanding the role Indiana’s electric cooperatives will play in the state’s next generation of utility policies. As new technologies, including electric vehicles, change the way Hoosiers need and consume electricity, Indiana’s electric cooperatives will play a vital role in ensuring consumer-owners, their businesses and the communities they serve continue to have access to safe, reliable and affordable electricity to power Indiana’s changing economy. By supporting candidates who embrace the challenges and opportunities of modern energy policies, your cooperative can continue to help the communities it serves grow and thrive. Want to vote absentee?  With the rescheduled primary, the Indiana Election Committee is extending to all Hoosiers the option to vote by absentee ballot. Visit IndianaVoters.in.gov to request an absentee ballot. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is May 21. Not yet registered to vote? In Indiana, voter registration for the June 2 primary closes Monday, May 4, 2020. Visit IndianaVoters.in.gov to register to vote or make sure your current voter registration is up to date. You can also find your nearest polling site and early voting locations, as well as learn who is on your ballot. To learn more about the issues cooperative consumer-owners can address at the ballot box and how to participate in this year’s primary elections, visit action.indianaec.org.   180 Seconds to Cast Your Vote When Hoosiers head to the polls May 5 to cast their ballot in this year’s primary election, most will have already made up their minds about who they want to support. But there are almost always circumstances – say, voting to retain certain judges, or selecting at-large candidates – that can give Hoosiers pause in the voting booth. Hopefully not too much pause, though – otherwise, they might be breaking the law. Under Indiana election law, Hoosier voters can only remain in their voting booth for three minutes during a primary election, and only two minutes in a general election. The law also instructs election board members to remove any voter who refuses to leave if their time expires. Fortunately, cooler heads have prevailed in the enforcement of said law. In a 2016 BBC interview, Indiana election official Angela Nussmeyer said election precinct boards don’t enforce the law, giving voters sufficient time to make their choices. That said, if your polling site is taking too long, you may have a legal basis to try to speed things up! Source: Ind. Code 3-11-14-26 through 28 Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37851764

Support Your Local Cooperative: Register to Vote

Feb. 3, 2020

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.

But this spring is different because the power of consumer-owner voter participation extends beyond their local cooperatives. Not only do Hoosiers get to decide who will lead the state by selecting gubernatorial candidates, they get to help determine what direction the country will move by selecting presidential candidates. (Not to mention the opportunity to select state and federal legislators to deliberate and advance the policy goals that help our cooperatives support the communities they serve.) And as recent elections have shown, the choices made by an engaged, voting consumer-owner can shape the outcomes of elections up and down the ballot. The first step to making sure your voice is heard is making sure you have the opportunity to use it. In Indiana, voter registration for the June 2 primary closes Monday, May 4, 2020. Visit IndianaVoters.in.gov to register to vote or make sure your current voter registration is up to date. You can also find your nearest polling site and early voting locations, as well as learn who is on your ballot. All this planning is important to ensure Hoosier electric cooperative consumer-owners have the opportunity to make their voices heard. In the 2018 primary elections, only 20% of registered voters in Indiana cast their ballots. In cooperative communities across the state, voter turnout dipped as low as 10% of registered voters in that area. Co-ops succeed when the communities they serve are engaged in the civic process, and this upcoming election will be no different. The May 2020 primary will be a critically important election; Hoosiers will select one of the two major party presidential candidates, as well as decide from those candidates seeking to fill two of Indiana’s nine Congressional open seats. State legislators who support Indiana’s electric cooperatives will face their first steps toward continuing their public service. And, by registering to vote and exercising their civic responsibility to make their voices heard, electric cooperative consumer-owners from across Indiana can emphasize the importance of supporting the policies and initiatives that not only allow co-ops to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy, but create the opportunities for the communities cooperatives serve to grow and thrive. To learn more about the issues co-op consumer-owners can address at the ballot box and how to register to vote, visit action.IndianaEC.org.   Tuesday Voting: A Rural-Rooted Practice? On June 2, 2020, thousands of Hoosiers across the state will head to their polling sites to cast the first votes in the 2020 election cycle. For some voters, it will be their first opportunity to vote; for others, it joins a long list of other votes cast in their lives. The one constant: the vote always happens on a Tuesday. Why Tuesday? The answer rests on a rationale to which many electric cooperative consumer-owners can relate. In the early days of the country’s history, votes could only be cast in a county seat (or capitol) and the journey could take a day or more. Travel was discouraged for those observing Sunday as a day of rest, so most voters — particularly those coming from rural areas — preferred either Tuesday or Wednesday. Because many farmers took their wares to market on Wednesday, that left Tuesday as the most viable day to vote. Times have changed, and many Americans would like to see voting become a national holiday, or at least fall on a weekend. But as we get ready for the primary and registered to vote, remember America’s voting history has been shaped with rural communities in mind. Source: https://whytuesday.org/about

Indiana’s electric cooperatives applaud Gov. Holcomb’s commitment to expanding rural broadband

Sep. 4, 2018

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.

$12 billion in benefit if Indiana closes rural digital divide

Aug. 28, 2018

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.