JACKSON — Federated Rural Electric hosted its 85th annual meeting, which featured drive-thru voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, earlier this month.

"We are very happy with the turnout for our annual meeting this year,” said Scott Reimer, Federated's general manager. “It was the largest crowd since 2000.

"We had 529 members register," Reimer added. Three-hundred-fifteen members registered at the Martin County Fairgrounds over the lunch hour, while 214 registered after work at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. We ultimately want to give every member the opportunity to participate. Our bylaws did not allow for mail-in or online voting for candidates so that’s one of the reasons Federated proposed Bylaw amendments.”

Ballots were counted Aug. 7 after isolating in the vault to ensure no virus spread. Members voted 463 in favor of the Bylaw amendments, while 28 voted against.

Besides allowing for mail-in or online ballots in the future, the amendments added gender-neutral language, cleaned up language on membership certificates since they are no longer offered and clarified payments on wholesale power capital credits. In addition, the amendments added language that clarified that membership is determined by the home address for director candidates and allows ballots cast to count toward a quorum.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Members also voted on directors: David A. Hansen, Jackson, was re-elected for District 3 over Chris Winter, Alpha (310 to 162). Meanwhile, Scott Thiesse, Welcome, was re-elected for District 4 over Harry Knutson, Jackson (307 to 169).

On the Nominating Committee Mark Runge, Lakefield, was elected for District 1 over Gary Madsen, Okabena (267 to 199). For District 2 Nominating Committee Drew Wedebrand, Jackson, was elected over Ryan Erickson, Lakefield (244 to 219).

A brief business meeting took place beginning at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 5 to approve last year’s annual meeting minutes, the Nominating Committee report and have the votes cast count toward the quorum. Members honked to approve motions and listened to 105.7 FM in their cars or at home to the short business meeting.

Members attending the annual meeting received a $20 bill credit, instead of a meal, and an attendance gift that’s a wall charger with USB ports and two outlets.

Federated is a Touchstone Energy cooperative serving 6,800 electric members in Jackson and Martin counties.