Success Story: San Isabel Electric Association
San Isabel Electric Association, Inc. is a rural electric cooperative, serving over 18,000 members in a service area of 9,600 square miles in southern Colorado. San Isabel is dedicated to affordable, reliable electricity for its members while giving back to the communities it serves through youth programs, scholarships and sponsorship of civic organizations.
As San Isabel’s Communications Manager I am responsible for member education, strategic communications, public relations, advertising and special initiatives. One of these special initiatives is our annual election.
Our previous election process monopolized employee time for several weeks prior to the annual meeting. In addition to taking up my time, we had “all-hands-on-deck” where our entire staff helped with the election. Everyone from the general manager to the member service representatives pitched in to help with ballots, mailing and election planning. This project wrapped up thousands of dollars worth of employee time and took us away from our regular work.
During May 2010, legislation was enacted in the state of Colorado that encourages electric cooperative governance transparency (Colorado House Bill 10-1098). This statute combined with the amount of work associated with the election convinced us to seek outside help with our election.
As it turned out, our neighboring electric cooperatives United Power, Poudre Valley and Sangre De Cristo were all using Survey & Ballot Systems (SBS) for their elections and recommended their services.
Setting up the election with our SBS account manager was fantastic. Everyone at SBS was friendly and knowledgeable. I was educated on the project and was walked through the entire process.
We used SBS’ election services for a special bylaw change vote and then again later in the year at our annual meeting. In both cases, the elections were seamless procedures.
For our annual meeting, we had SBS manage the mail-in ballots beforehand and then only distribute on-site ballots to those members who had not voted. Once we had the on-site ballots collected, SBS was able to quickly process both the mail-in ballots and on-site ballots, allowing us to announce the results at the end of the meeting.
By contracting out our elections we are ultimately helping our members by keeping the focus on them, not on administering elections.
“There is no way our organization could duplicate the value SBS brings to our election process – SBS makes the process so much easier!” ~ Ashley R. Valdez, Communications Manager