The importance of rural voting

Kentucky Electric Cooperatives President & CEO Chris Perry teamed up with Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney on the following op-ed that appeared in newspapers and websites across the commonwealth:

In communities across the country, children are taught from a young age about the importance of getting out on Election Day and voting. The right to vote is the cornerstone of any democracy and an important tool for making our voices heard in the political process.

These days, with partisanship reaching record highs, it’s easy to want to tune out the political talk and focus on our families and life at home. But we must stay engaged and take the time to ensure we are informed. From expansion of broadband across rural Kentucky to the crafting of future Farm Bills to determining tax rates in local towns — those elected on Nov. 3 will make decisions that have everyday impacts on rural Kentuckians.

Yes, you heard that right: the people we elect on Nov. 3 will make decisions that impact our daily lives. Voting really is that important!

And to be clear, exercising the right to vote doesn’t begin at the ballot box. In the weeks leading up to an election, it’s our responsibility to be informed about the issues at hand and the candidates’ position on those issues.

As organizations that operate throughout the commonwealth, Kentucky Electric Cooperatives and Kentucky Farm Bureau understand the issues rural Kentuckians face and are committed to making life better for the individuals and communities we serve. Voting has always been and continues to be a critical part of the equation.

Each election cycle, Kentucky Farm Bureau hosts candidate forums on every level — from U.S. Senate to local races — to ensure our members know exactly where candidates stand on rural issues. KFB is a grassroots organization, and we know that informed voters making their voice heard via elections is of utmost importance.

Since 2016, Kentucky Electric Cooperatives has operated “Co-ops Vote,” a partnership with the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office that encourages rural voices to make sure their voices are heard in the commonwealth’s primary and general elections. We also regularly ask candidates their position on issues that impact our members and publish their responses in our flagship publication, Kentucky Living.

Whether you are involved with our organizations or not, you owe it to yourself, your family, and your neighbors to take some time to learn about your candidates and weigh in on what’s important to rural Kentucky.

With new protocols in place to minimize the spread of COVID-19, voting in 2020 is sure to look and feel a bit different than in years past. Instead of heading to your polling place on Election Day, you may be mailing in your ballot or opting to vote early. The good news is, with so many options, voting has never been easier or more accessible.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this unpredictable and difficult year, it’s that we should never take anything for granted. That includes our shared responsibility to vote, even if your choice is different than your neighbor’s.

Please join us and your fellow Kentuckians in casting your ballot this election season — rural Kentucky is depending on you!