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Raise your voice and vote

October 27, 2016

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 still a record year for primary voter turnout. In our “battleground state” of Ohio, where we got a lot of attention during presidential elections, we saw a primary voter turnout of over 43 percent. That’s great, but we can do better.

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? We may feel like candidates are not speaking to the issues we care about. 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 South Central Power, 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 affect our local communities.

America’s electric cooperatives are doing their part by informing co-op staff and members through Co-ops Vote, a nonpartisan campaign with one simple goal: increase voter turnout this November. By visiting vote.coop, you can learn about your candidates, access voter registration information, and read about the issues that are especially important to rural America.

The future of rural economies depends on their 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: It’s expensive.

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 vote.coop 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.