How REMC Advocates for You
Making Sure the Co-op Voice is Heard in #CoopsVote
By Nicole Arnold
Every election is an opportunity for voters to engage in one of their most fundamental rights: the right to vote. As a member-owner of an electric cooperative, you have a unique ability to hold your elected officials accountable for their positions on issues that impact rural North Carolinians. Collectively, this effort is called “Co-ops Vote,” by our national and statewide organizations. You will notice images related to this campaign on our social media channels and website as we honor your role in the voting process.
Randolph EMC monitors candidates’ positions on co-op issues including broadband, economic development, infrastructure and more. Randolph EMC, also, works on your behalf to bring a greater awareness of these issues to our officials. As we have worked to enhance our relationships with Congressional and state legislators, we have witnessed legislators achieve a deeper understanding of many rural issues. While we acknowledge that there is still much to be done in Congress and at the NC General Assembly, we appreciate your increased participation at the polls because it has made a difference.
This year, Randolph EMC has advocated for our members on several issues, including the following:
- Asking member of Congress to co-sponsor the Flexible Financing for Rural America Act (H.R. 2244) and encouraging them to pass this important legislation. The bill would save co-ops, and therefore our members, as much as $10 billion if we are able to take advantage of current low interest rates. Congress needs to allow cooperatives access to the same low interest rates that other businesses enjoy in order to reprice Rural Utility Service debt without penalty.
- Opposing language inserted into bills at the state level which would pass the cost of “make-ready,” pole replacement costs on to our member-owners. While Randolph EMC supports the expansion of broadband in rural parts of our state, we ask our legislators to expand it responsibly without passing on the costs of such services to our members.
How to get involved in this year’s elections
This year, 2021, is what is known as an off-year election. This means that you cannot vote for the President or even members of Congress or the state legislature. However, Tuesday, November 2, is still an important date because it is the day of the general election for municipal races.
If local school policy, road or infrastructure repairs, or town taxes impact your life, then learning about the municipal elections in your area will benefit you. Here are some FAQ below that may help find answers.
Q. How do I register to vote?
A. You can contact your local Board of Elections or the state Board of Elections and request a registration application by mail, or you can register to vote through the NCDMV. Here is an excellent overview.
Q. What if think I am already registered to vote but am unsure?
A. You can easily look up your information on the NC Board of Elections website or call them and them to help you.
Q. What if my address has changed?
A. If your voter registration is at a former address, then you need to change it to your current address. You must have lived at your current address for 30 days prior to November 2 in order to change your address on your voter registration.
Q. Can I vote early?
A. Many municipalities, but not all in our service area, host early, in-person voting from Thursday, October 14 – Saturday, October 30. To find out if you have an early voting site near you, contact your local Board of Elections or use this online tool.
Q. Where do I vote in-person on election day?
A. Your precinct information determines where you vote on Nov. 2. Contact your local Board of Election to find this information.
Q. How can I find out what districts I live in?
A. Your Board of Elections will help you with this information. They also have an accurate, up-to-date list of candidates for each district.
Q. Can I vote by mail?
A. Most, but not all, municipalities, allow the option of mail-in absentee voting. Check with your local county’s Board of Elections to see if you can vote absentee. If you can, then request that they mail you an absentee ballot, or use this online tool. Remember that you will need the signatures of two witnesses before mailing back your ballot.
Thank you for educating yourself on the basics of voting, and for making sure that the co-op voice is heard through our #CoopsVote campaign.