Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams is challenging his fellow secretaries of state throughout the country to partner with Co-ops Vote to raise turnout among rural voters in this year’s elections.
Adams issued the challenge on Twitter after speaking to more than 100 high school students representing Kentucky co-ops at a state Capitol event organized by Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. Adams helped kick off the 2022 Co-ops Vote program with Kentucky’s 26 co-ops and the statewide association.
“Since Co-ops Vote was launched in 2016, we have seen steady improvement in our voter turnout in rural counties,” Adams said. “In the 2020 election, rural counties saw a 62% voter turnout. That was slightly higher than what we saw in our metropolitan areas. I hope that we continue to see that number increase, and I think that we will.”
Adams’ challenge to his colleagues has also led to an opportunity for Laura Vogel, NRECA’s senior adviser on political affairs, to speak about the nonpartisan Co-ops Vote program to the National Association of Secretaries of State later this year. Vogel serves with Adams on the steering committee of the National Voter Registration Day organization—a nonpartisan group dedicated to increasing voter turnout.
“Secretary Adams is delivering the crucial message that rural voters matter, their votes do count, and their votes are important,” Vogel said.
Adams, a Republican, worked with Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear to help enact election reform legislation to make voting more accessible and secure.
“Kentucky’s electric cooperatives appreciate any effort that encourages voter participation in the communities we serve, and we are grateful to Secretary Adams for his partnership on Co-ops Vote,” said Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives.
“Co-ops Vote is nonpartisan and does not endorse any candidate. The consumer-members of rural electric cooperatives democratically elect their co-op boards, and it’s important their voices are also heard at the ballot box.”
Primaries for the nation’s congressional elections as well as state and local elections begin in earnest in May and continue through mid-September. The general election is Nov. 8.
Vogel has asked co-ops and statewide associations to urge their secretaries of state to accept Adams’ challenge.
“I think once co-ops see that it doesn’t have to be some fancy-pants reception, they’ll be more apt to invite their secretaries of state to participate,” she said. “In Kentucky, it was just Secretary Adams coming and talking to a bunch of Youth Tour kids. Co-ops in other states have a model now for how to do it.”
Erin Kelly is a staff writer for NRECA.