The first time 20-year-old Collin Moseley had the chance to vote, in the 2020 general election, he was so excited that he showed up the minute the doors opened at his Illinois polling place.
Today, the former Youth Leadership Council participant for Clay Electric Cooperative Inc. is working with the Flora-based co-op and NRECA’s Co-ops Vote program to help register his neighbors as part of National Voter Registration Day efforts. He will be manning a booth at a local education festival on Sept. 25 to register adults to vote while kids get the chance to have their faces painted with patriotic images.
“We should all be excited and empowered to exercise this right,” said Moseley, who is majoring in political science and legal studies at the University of Illinois and working for a state senator. “We are blessed to live in a land in which voting is a normal occurrence. Many others in this world are not so fortunate.”
Although 2021 is considered an “off-year” for elections because there are no congressional or presidential races on the ballot, there are critical local elections going on across the country that affect the daily lives of co-op members, said Laura Vogel, NRECA’s senior adviser for political affairs. Virginia and New Jersey also have elections for governor this year.
“All politics is local,” Vogel said. “City councils, school boards and other local elected groups all directly affect the communities where our members live and work. Co-op members have the power to direct the course of their communities. It really does matter that they register and vote.”
NRECA is joining with about 2,500 other groups to participate in National Voter Registration Day events on or before Sept. 28. This is the fourth year that the association and its member co-ops have participated through the Co-ops Vote program. The overall goal is to register 1 million Americans to vote between now and next year’s event.
At Arizona G&T Cooperatives, National Voter Registration Day has turned into a month of events as the generation and transmission co-op works with its distribution co-op members to help register voters. Activities will include booths at local fairs and co-op annual meetings and a Facebook Live event on Sept. 28.
“Rural communities are unique and so are their issues,” said Geoff Oldfather, the co-op’s communications and public relations manager. “If people ignore the opportunity to vote, they could be living with polices for a long time that really don’t benefit their communities or their way of life.”
In North Carolina, Roanoke Electric Cooperative will celebrate National Voter Registration Day by hosting a drive-up event in front of its Aulander headquarters. Consumer-members and the general public will be able to collect free swag, ranging from Co-ops Vote masks to first-aid kits, while registering to vote.
“For co-ops, it’s all about the community,” said Patrice Jordan, Roanoke EC’s coordinator of community relations and engagement. “This is one way that we can be of service.”
Erin Kelly is a staff writer for NRECA.