Every election is determined by the people who show up.” It’s a platitude that Americans dust off every four years as we prepare to go to the ballot box either to cast a vote for change or to stay the course. Pundits traditionally delight in telling us that this is the most important election in the history of the democratic process. In reality, every election is an essential exercise of democracy that allows our voices to be heard through the ballot we cast. The right to vote is often taken for granted, as others may have fought the battle or made the sacrifices required to gain or maintain that privilege.
Co-ops, like our country, are grounded in consensus. Governed by their owners (you) with open and voluntary membership and guided by democratic control, the electric cooperative community is an apt reflection of the power of a system based in equality — one member, one vote. In an era in which we’re experiencing increasing division and unrest, elections, and the responsibility to vote, provide the chance for us to ponder our values and our interests and then hit the “continue,” “pause,” or “reset” button.
Elections offer us a chance to quietly express our individual priorities for the governance of our communities, our state, and our nation. Elections also result in a collective expression of our community priorities and values.
Please express your views during our upcoming election, honor this truly American principle, and let the nation know what’s important to you.
Pat O'Loughlin is president and CEO of Ohio's Electric Cooperatives.