Your vote represents your views

Baldwin EMC Board of Trustees

By the time you read this article, we’ll have just over two months left before the next president of the United States is chosen. As we head into the final stage of what has been a divisive national election, it is a good time to remember that even though at times elections seem to be about name calling and bitterness, living in a democratically controlled nation is quite the privilege. Being able to cast a vote without fear of persecution is a fortune that people in so many other countries would be grateful to have.

It is easy to take our right to vote for granted, maybe because there are so many opportunities to exercise that right. There are national, state and local elections for political offices. Then there are elections for social or other civic organizations. So it is understandable to see how “election fatigue” can take hold.

However, voting does matter. Every vote is a voice and every voice represents a person with his or her own thoughts, feelings and opinions. Your vote represents you.

If you haven’t registered to vote, you still have time if you want to be able to cast your ballot for the presidential election in November. Don’t delay though, because October 24 is the deadline.

If you can’t get to the polls in person on November 8, you can apply for an Alabama absentee ballot by November 3. Completed absentee ballots need to be postmarked no later than November 7 and be received by the Absentee Election Manager by noon on election day.

Democracy is also at the heart of Baldwin EMC, your electric cooperative. Because of this, as a member, you have the right to vote on bylaws, elect Trustees and serve as a member
of the Board. That level of participation should make you feel empowered.

Every member has a voice, but you must use that voice if you want to be heard on the issues that matter to you. In their document, “A Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade,” the International Cooperative Alliance, a global organization made up of co-ops from over 100 countries, identified member participation as one of the five key ingredients for a co-op to be successful.

The cooperative business model is a great one, because it fosters engagement and creates strong communities. Over 100 years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt recognized this value when he said, “The cooperative plan is the best plan of organization…Under this plan, any business undertaking is (governed by a board); every (person) has one vote and only one vote; and everyone gets profits (based on their use of the co-op). It develops individual responsibility and has a moral as well as a financial value.”

Those words are truer today than ever before. Let your voice be heard, and take the time to participate in the election process.

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