OPALCO’s Tally Chairman, Doug Pearson, made his first-ever mistake in about 30 years of serving our Co-op as the official vote counter on the ferry for OPALCO’s election finale at the annual meeting. “The official SBS election results were accurate,” said Pearson. “I apologize for inadvertently transposing the order of the bylaw amendment results when I made the announcement at the annual meeting.”

The certified results on the member-initiated bylaw amendment are:
Against: 1,301
For: 863

This morning, Pearson handed his resignation to Foster Hildreth, General Manager, as they met to correct the discrepancy. Hildreth would not accept his resignation saying, “There is no one more qualified to manage our election results than you are – especially after this unfortunate mishap. I appreciate and respect your integrity and long service to the Co-op.”

The election results are now certified and final. The official election results from SBS Balloting Systems and also the Annual Meeting Tally Committee are posted online for member review.

At the April board meeting, OPALCO leadership committed to a thorough review of election processes and the annual meeting balloting on the ferry will certainly be considered. There is a very short period of time allowed for the Tally Committee to count the votes and prepare their announcement in the course of the fast-paced meeting.

Many electric co-ops have moved to a system of all absentee balloting to reduce the margin of error and preserve the limited time available at the annual meeting on the ferry for more member activities. Pearson is in favor of a move to all absentee balloting and stated, “In 30 years of OPALCO elections, there has been only ONE time that the vote on the boat actually changed the election results.”

Members who attended the annual meeting will receive a survey to measure their satisfaction and preferences on the election process and annual meeting activities. Those results will influence the discussion in the coming months and planning for the future.