Your role in the director election process

January 2008

Each year in this issue of the Nodak Neighbor, we begin the process of the Nodak director election. You will note we have included a list of members who have been appointed to the director Nominating Committee. This committee will accept nominations for three positions open on the board of directors. This process represents one of the most important differences between an electric cooperative and other forms of electric utilities.

Each year, the door is open for you and every other member of the cooperative, to take an active role in the election of the board, which governs your utility. Your role may be as little as simply making a commitment to vote during the director election in April. You might want to go to the next step and actually attend the annual meeting of the cooperative on April 12, 2008 and vote in person. If so, in just three hours, you will learn quite a lot about Nodak, participate in the election process, have a chance to win one of many door prizes, and eat a great noon meal served by the Alerus Center. When it’s all over, you still have half the day left to do a little shopping in Grand Forks. If you haven’t been to one of our annual meetings, I would encourage you to give it a try.

The ultimate involvement in the director election process is to step up and run for one of the three director seats, which are open each year. Being nominated is easy. You can contact one of the members of the Nominating Committee, or you can have 15 fellow members sign a petition, and you are on the ballot.

Probably, the biggest change to the director election process in recent years has been the option to vote by mail. The obvious advantage of doing this, of course, is that all members have the opportunity to vote, even if they are unable to attend the annual meeting. There are a few disadvantages, however, with this option. First, there is some added expense for the cooperative, even when we have included the ballot as a “tear out” in our Annual Report. Second, it is nearly impossible to have a true secret ballot without adding even more expense. We have been criticized for requiring that the ballot be signed, but of course, we need to know who votes by mail so they don’t vote more than once. Third, voting by mail causes a bigger challenge for candidates as far as campaigning for the position. No longer can a candidate simply come to our annual meeting and sell himself/herself to the voters before the election. With mail-in ballots, most of the votes have already been cast before the annual meeting. The election is finalized by collecting those ballots at the annual meeting and then counting all of the ballots cast.

Even with the inherent disadvantages of voting by mail, it is the consensus of the board and management that these disadvantages are still outweighed by the importance of giving everyone a simple and painless way to participate in the election process.

We encourage you to take a good look at the candidates running for these director seats when you receive your Annual Report in the mail in early April. You may then either cast a vote by mail, or better yet, come to our annual meeting on April 12 and cast a vote at that time.