With a mail-in ballot system, PVEC members would not have to wait in long lines to vote. Members who are elderly and members with physical disabilities or illnesses who might not be able to make it to the annual meeting would be able to vote. There are members who cannot arrange a ride to the annual meeting – and as a result are unable to vote.
As a member-owned cooperative, one of the most important ways that a member can participate in the governance of our co-op is by voting for board representatives. Due to large voter turnout at the PVEC annual meeting in 2018, many members were unable to vote because of the very long voting lines. While our annual meeting offers a great way for members to connect with one another, it is clear that the requirement to be present at the annual meeting in order to vote is a barrier for many members who want to participate.
Other electric cooperatives have found the mail-in ballot to be an effective way to increase member voter turnout. For example, a mail-in ballot would allow members who work on the Saturday of the annual meeting to participate in voting. Voting by mail-in ballot also significantly reduces staff time spent preparing for and working on the same day voting procedure.