“We significantly increased our election response rates – going from just a couple hundred votes with our previous process to 3,575 ballots returned with our new mail-in voting method.” ~ Erika Neff, Communications Coordinator, Kootenai Electric Cooperative
Established in 1938, Kootenai Electric Cooperative, Inc. (KEC) is a member-owned electric utility located in Hayden, ID. KEC is committed to serving its 22,000 member-owners with reliable, quality power, and innovative services at competitive prices.
As the Communications Coordinator for KEC, my responsibilities include: media relations, member communications, managing our web site www.kec.com, social media, publishing the KEC newsletter, Operation Round Up®, and coordinating our annual meeting.
In the past, KEC members met at the annual meeting to cast their votes in KEC director elections or proposed bylaw changes. Members voted to fill open director seats depending on the year. Our challenge was to find a way to boost participation and find an alternative to our on-site only election process.
Our plan was to begin mailing ballots to our members to help encourage participation. While voting at the annual meeting was going smoothly, we felt that we should offer a different method so that all members could participate in the election process.
Through a listserv on www.cooperative.com we became aware of Survey & Ballot Systems’ (SBS) election services. We contacted SBS and found them to be easy to consult with and very professional. We decided to employ SBS’ services and begin a paper mail-in ballot process for the KEC annual director election. SBS would design, print, mail, collect, and tabulate the ballots, as well as guarantee and certify results. The process outlined made us confident in choosing SBS as our election partner.
To spread the word about our new mail-in election process, we created an integrated awareness campaign. This campaign included a description of the new process in our member newsletter, posts in social media channels used by membership, and the creation of an incentive drawing where members who voted by mail were entered to win $250 worth of energy credits at KEC.
Our new mail-in method performed well. Ballots were processed smoothly and SBS tabulated the results. We significantly increased our election response rates – going from just a couple hundred votes with our previous process to 3,575 ballots returned with our new mail-in voting method.
We are very satisfied with SBS services and plan to continue using their services in the future.