2 women and man speaking to each other

laptop and phone with voting on screenPlatte-Clay Electric Cooperative (PCEC) in Kearney, Missouri, canceled its in-person 2020 business meeting but still needed a way for members to vote on bylaw changes and director elections.

The co-op combined mailing and electronic options, powered by Pioneer’s voting platform, to give its 24,000 members accessible voting options.

“We’re led by the consumer-members we serve, so it was important for us to find a way to allow for democratic participation in the cooperative despite the challenges posed by COVID-19,” says Dave Deihl, CEO and general manager of PCEC. “The future of our co-op is shaped by the needs of our members, and we’re grateful for their active participation in our governance process.”

Platte Clay Electric Cooperative Willie Wiredhand Get out and vote“They made the process very easy to implement and were easy to work with on customizing the process to meet our needs,” says PCEC Communications and Marketing Manager Jennifer Grossl.

PCEC joins a growing list of utilities using Pioneer Votes to ensure every member has a voice. Osage Valley Electric Cooperative in Butler, Missouri, also used Pioneer’s voting portal. Participation nearly doubled as a result.

“When we made the decision to convert our annual meeting to an online voting portal, we were concerned about how our members would react to this change,” says OVEC Member Services Director Jana Rosier. “The election went very smooth. Many members that had not attended annual meetings in the past expressed they were happy to be able to participate in their cooperative’s democratic process with the online voting.”

Meeting New Needs

Pioneer’s service partner, ARC Media, developed the voting portal with the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. The tool was launched in early 2020.

Pioneer Utility Resources Senior Vice President of Member Solutions Andy Neidert explained how the voting portal works on an episode of StoryConnect: The Podcast.

“We worked with the statewide association in Missouri to run trials and figure out where we needed to add or what we needed to change. Then COVID-19 happened, and interest ballooned.”

petition candidates for votingPioneer’s online voting platform features:

  • Unique utility website address
  • Option to request a paper ballot
  • Complement to in-person voting
  • Encrypted, three-step identify verification
  • Social media creative materials and targeted advertising
  • While online voting definitely gained interest due to pandemic precautions, the trend toward online voting and engagement is not a one-time need.

“There’s a segment of your membership, which I believe is growing, that exists digitally,” Neidert says. “I pay my bills online. I would bet that you do as well. And you’re going to reach me a whole lot more effectively digitally or on social media.”

Excited?

Visit Pioneer Votes and email our Member Solutions team to move your utility voting online.