Online Voting

For decades, Cherryland Electric Cooperative members had to show up at the Annual Meeting to cast a vote in a board election. About one decade ago, members began to receive their annual ballot wrapped around the May issue of Michigan Country Lines magazine.

Over the last decade, we have watched member votes climb from 500 a year to over 1,800 at the peak of mail-in balloting. With 35,000 members, an increase of 360 percent in voting members is still not good enough. So, in an effort to get more people involved in their cooperative, online voting will be available to everyone for the first time in 2017.

Your board and the Election and Credentials Member Committee have both approved the use of Survey and Ballot Systems (SBS). SBS has been working with electric cooperative elections since 1990. They employ third party audits, use best in-class security practices and have industry-leading encryption and authentication measures.

The 2017 election will be a “hybrid” election. This means that members will still get a paper ballot wrapped around the May issue of Country Lines, as well as the new online option and the ability to vote in person at the Annual Meeting. The first vote received will be the one that counts. Online and mail-in ballots will be accepted from May 1 to June 14.

SBS will tabulate all the ballots, both paper and online. One member of the Election and Credentials Committee, a Cherryland member, will serve as a liaison to SBS and the third-party auditor.

Members will be able to access the online voting portal through SmartHub or a website by using a unique ballot ID and an election passcode.

For probably too long, we have gotten this complaint after a member tossed out their magazine and ballot: “What do you mean I can’t get another ballot?” We have been steadfast in “one member, one ballot” in an attempt to keep things simple and hold people accountable.

Now, members will have a 45-day window to vote without having to retain the paper ballot. We are hopeful that this will increase voter turnout, appeal to younger voters and eliminate complaints from busy members who have long desired another voting option.

The cost of online voting has been the biggest hurdle to its implementation. It will add several thousand dollars to our operating expenses. In the long run, we hope to lower costs in a few years if we feel like paper ballots can be eliminated or at least reduced to individual “as needed” requests.

I encourage everyone to take the time to review the candidate information in this issue and online. After that, please vote. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, “Cherryland is not a cooperative of the majority. We are a cooperative of the majority who choose to participate.” In the 78-year history of this cooperative, it has never been easier to cast your vote and make your voice heard.

Keep an eye out for your May issue of Michigan Country Lines! Included will be voting instructions (with your unique ballot I.D. and election passcode), candidate information, and a paper ballot. We will also be sending a follow-up email with instructions for all your voting options.

Tony Anderson

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  1. Lon DeNeff April 27, 2017 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Wow, this is great!

  2. Debi Thomas April 27, 2017 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    Thank you for providing this new option

  3. Sd Duda April 28, 2017 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    Thank you for still having the mail-in option. We are older, not big computer users so we won’t be doing all the fussing to vote on-line.

  4. Don Pahl April 28, 2017 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    Great job Tony. Much needed.

  5. Sherry Schluckbier April 29, 2017 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    I think it’s a wonderful idea and would help solve the problem of getting more people to vote, like the elderly and disabled who have a difficult time getting out of their homes.

  6. Allan & Ruthanne Reiter May 29, 2017 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    I tried to vote, do not have a smart phone to read that whatever it is

  7. Bob Carstens June 8, 2017 at 12:01 am - Reply

    Once again you make things really difficult …… You ought to have looked at Oryana’s voting website all laid out simple with descriptions of and statements by the Candidates all on basically the same page or place on the ballot …

    all these arcane instructions and hoops to go through are totally unnecessary and are basically obstacles that suggest strongly that you really don’t want us to vote

    i started filling out information to obtain my ballot and everything I had written ..including the whole page on which was required my email address and password and everything suddenly disappeared. Very discouraging. i do not have the patience to interpret your difficult to follow or understand unnecessarily technical, lengthy and arcane instructions. my name is Bob Carstens … i am not interested in all of this needless content you are presenting instead of a ballot. where did my ballot go ? All i should need is my name , address, password, and Account number and access to a review of the the candidate information along with the ballot. where Are they ?

    • Cherryland June 8, 2017 at 7:52 am - Reply

      Hi Bob – We are sorry to hear you are experiencing difficulty with voting online. Please give us a call at 231-486-9200 and we would be happy to assist you.

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