Low voter turnout has been a topic of conversation for the last several election cycles. Since the 1960s, voter turnout during presidential elections has seen a steady decline — with the occasional uptick here and there. In the 2016 primary election cycle, voter turnout in most states was only 21 to 30 percent, and this was a record year for primary voter turnout!
Some speculate the reason for the decline is because the average American is not as engaged in politics as they have been in the past. And who can blame us really? Often, we may feel like candidates are not speaking to the issues that matter to us. Or perhaps we don’t feel like we understand enough about the candidates’ stances on the issues, or even the issues themselves. But we can change this.
Here at Orange County REMC, we want to see civic engagement in our rural communities increase. We want to give you what you need to make informed decisions about candidates at all levels of government, not just the presidential race. And we want you to know more about the issues that could impact our local communities.
America’s electric cooperatives are doing their part by informing co-op staff and members through Co-ops Vote, a non-partisan campaign with one simple goal: increase voter turnout at the polls this November. By visiting www.action.indianaec.org, you can learn about your candidates, access voter registration information and more.
The future of rural economies depends on the ability to keep up with today’s global economy, which is why access to broadband internet is a key topic of discussion this election season. Just 55 percent of rural Americans have broadband at home. Quick access to information is crucial in finding a job, getting a better education and even gathering the information needed to make major health decisions. But there is a barrier: expensive costs.
With the right state and federal policies, broadband technology can become available to all rural Americans, allowing families and businesses to communicate in new and faster ways.
Electric cooperatives are already committed to providing affordable electricity to our communities, so helping provide affordable broadband access is a natural next step.
We encourage you to visit www.action.indianaec.org and take the pledge to learn more about the issues that impact us locally. Let’s work together to improve our communities by increasing voter turnout and changing our country, one vote at a time.
MARK BELCHER is the marketing/member services manager for Orange County REMC.