“Between SBS, Dakota Electric and the Minnesota Rural Electric Association, we managed to get a bill passed to allow online balloting for cooperatives.” ~Margaret Schreiner, Board Member, Dakota Electric Association
Founded in 1937, Dakota Electric Association (DEA) is the second largest electric cooperative in Minnesota. With more than 100,000 members, DEA purchases wholesale electricity from Great River Energy, a generation and transmission cooperative in Maple Grove, Minn., and distributes electricity to homes, businesses and farms in parts of Dakota, Goodhue, Scott and Rice counties.
We have a high number of members who prefer interacting with us via the Internet – as evidenced by the number of members who use our online bill pay option. This led us to believe that they would also appreciate being able to vote online. Web voting would also be more cost effective for Dakota Electric. There was a catch, however; Minnesota state statues did not provide for online voting. We would need an amendment.
Between SBS, Dakota Electric and the Minnesota Rural Electric Association, we managed to get a bill passed to allow online balloting for cooperatives. An added benefit of implementing electronic voting is the different kinds of reporting that SBS can now provide to us. For example, SBS can identify the number of votes cast in each zip code identifying which geographical areas have the most active voters. Another benefit is the increase in traffic to the cooperative’s web site. There, members can learn about opportunities for renewable energy, conservation, and more… all as they cast their vote!