Online-only voting proposed change in PEC election bylaws
Voting for directors on the Pedernales Electric Cooperative board could become all electronic — if new policies being considered are approved by the board and allowed by state statute.
PEC General Council Don Ballard presented a list of proposed changes in policies and bylaws during a post-analysis of the 2022 election at the board’s meeting Friday, Aug. 19. The analysis, which is required by law, includes input from candidates, directors, and the election qualifications committee.
The board will have a month to provide further input — as can members — before Ballard returns to the board in September with an updated document.
“We want to get your temperature and feedback on these ideas,” Ballard said. “We would bring back changes next month after we know what you think of these ideas.”
Most of the nine proposals received no comment from the board after Ballard read them aloud. That included a proposal to require candidates to report their campaign donations, another to create a date certain for providing members’ email information to candidates, and one to provide an online-only, voter-incentive program to drive down postage costs.
The proposal for campaign donations would require candidates to disclose all donations before, during, and after the election. No one commented on that proposal when it was read.
The pushback came over taking the voting process totally online.
“I’m not for that,” said Director Emily Pataki, the first to comment on any of the suggestions. “I want to be clear about that. Some people want a paper ballot. It’s a good cost savings, but there are other factors to consider.”
Director James Oakley concurred.
“We need to have the old school way still available,” he said. “We still need to have a physical way of doing things.”
Director Amy Akers disagreed, although she supports an option for members to choose which way they want to vote.
“I’m on the other side of this,” she said. “I understand there are others who want paper, but a large majority do not. I would rather not have additional paper. I’m happy with QR codes and email notice of meetings, but not to take away a choice. They can choose for themselves. Let them opt out of paper if they want.”
Ballard pointed out that while current state law is clear that annual meeting notices must be “in writing or in person,” it is not specific about voting.
“It’s unclear on the ballot issue in the statute,” Ballard said. “It only says the annual notice must be mailed or delivered in person.”
PEC plans to join lobbying efforts in the upcoming legislative session, which convenes in January 2023, to update the statute.
“The Legislature has an opportunity next session to modernize the statute and include electronic options,” Ballard said.
Postage will continue to increase in the future, he continued, and the cooperative would save money by notifying members of annual meetings via email rather than postcards and sending links to online candidate bios rather than mailing booklets. Online voting would be another savings.
“We wanted you to know we are looking at these alternatives,” Ballard said. “We don’t want the membership to think that we’re not providing notice as appropriate. We want to make it the most effective, and we’re not sure the postcard is the most effective. It happens to be the most compliant way to do it. We will continue to look at that.”
Other suggested changes included:
- no longer having candidate videos available for viewing on PEC’s website
- changing the format of biographical materials to a same-page column design so voters see all candidates at one time on the same page
- providing additional voter-history lists to candidates one week after the election so they can review who voted and who did not
PEC’s next board meeting is set for 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at co-op headquarters, 201 S. Avenue F in Johnson City.
1 thought on “Online-only voting proposed change in PEC election bylaws”
The DailyTrib article says – “Most of the nine proposals received no comment from the board after Ballard read them aloud. That included a proposal to require candidates to report their campaign donations, another to create a date certain for providing members’ email information to candidates, and one to provide an online-only, voter-incentive program to drive down postage costs.
The proposal for campaign donations would require candidates to disclose all donations before, during, and after the election. No one commented on that proposal when it was read.”
No comment from the board? Is anyone surprised there was no comment? Why is there even a board of puppets? Can anyone provide one, just one, issue that the board did not vote lockstep with the 20 folks all earning between $200,000 to $500,000 per year before bonuses kick in?
These $36,000/year, meet 12 or so times per year for a few hours “Directors” are merely window dressing for the bloated monopoly to continue lumbering around the Hill Country crowing about how big they are and how fast they are growing (as if they had anything to do with that growth!!!). Big does not necessarily mean good.
If they are worried about postage for a postcard notice, why not have those Top 20 PEC Executives and the 7 Board of Directors pay for that postage. .44 cents per postcard would only require $6,150 of their salaries to cover those costs. That’s only 1% to 3% of the executive annual salaries and about 17% of the puppet salaries before bonuses!
Look past the PR/Marketing fluff. We are being forced to bail out the poor planning and incompetent negotiating skills of the PEC for their ineptitude prior to and during the big freeze.
Comments are closed.