Success Story: Medina Electric Cooperative

Client Profile:

Organized in 1938 under the provisions of the United States Rural Electrification Act and incorporated under the guidelines of the Texas Electric Cooperative Corporation Act, Medina Electric Cooperative (Medina EC), Inc. is a not-for-profit electric cooperative corporation.

Medina EC provides service to over 16,500 members throughout a 12,000 square-mile region in south-central Texas. The mission of Medina EC is to exceed member expectations through all the services it provides.

Client Challenge:

As the Member Relations and Communications Supervisor at Medina EC, my responsibilities are overseeing all internal and external communication activities, including: member correspondence and committees,, marketing campaigns, news releases, social media interaction, and our annual election.

In the past, promoting our elections and getting members to participate was difficult because of our co-op’s large service area. Members are scattered over hundreds of miles and reside in suburban areas, rural regions, and everything in between.

We tried running elections ourselves both at the annual meeting and through a paper mail-in ballot process. Neither of these methods seemed efficient. Turnout at the annual meeting was hard to predict and members often had significant travel time to get to the gathering. The mail-in method produced better results than on-site voting, but the process was expensive and took an enormous amount of staff time to coordinate.

Our challenge was to find a way to execute a well-run, efficient election that produced the participation results we wanted.

SBS Solution:

A member of senior management first became aware of Survey & Ballot Systems (SBS) through a conference hosted by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. We were intrigued by their election services and thought that an online voting system might be a great way to help with our voting situation.

SBS advised us on an efficient hybrid election solution that included both a paper mail-in ballot and an online voting system. SBS listened to our input and created a solution that fit our cooperative. We found the SBS staff competent and quick to respond to items related to our election project.

The new procedure was put in place and member voting didn’t miss a beat.  Election participation nearly doubled, going from 7-8% with previous voting efforts to approximately 15% with the hybrid election system.

We have been delighted with the outsourced election service SBS provides. They create ballot materials, administer web voting, and tabulate election results. At Medina EC, no vendor is held in higher regard than SBS – working with them has been fantastic.

“At Medina EC, no vendor is held in higher regard than SBS – working with them has been fantastic.” ~Brian Bell, Member Relations and Communications Supervisor, Medina Electric Cooperative