Format altered for power supplier’s annual meeting

Because of South Carolina coronavirus mandates, any gathering of large crowds has been forbidden.  Consequently, Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative took a decidedly different path than had been the norm in the planning and conducting of its 2020 Annual Meeting of Members.


During the three consecutive days of May 19th through 21st, members participated in a drive-through registration process.  As part of that process and without leaving their vehicles, members voted in a director election and on some amendments to the cooperative’s bylaws.  The meeting culminated on this Thursday evening with a systematic counting of the paper ballots.  Cooperative employees had carried out the drive-through process at both its Oconee and Pickens offices.  Tallying of the director-election results was also conducted at each location.


Once the counting of ballots was complete, the combined results of the voting from each location were certified.  The final count revealed that incumbent director Ben Bolt had prevailed over challenger Rick Driver for the cooperative’s Anderson County director seat by a vote of 4,683 to 925.  Incumbent directors William Elrod of Pickens County and Oconee County’s Len Talley were also both reelected, without opposition, to new three-year terms.


With regard to the other two items, members by a 4,759 to 690 margin voted to keep the present at-large structure for nominating and electing director candidates.  Members also approved amending the cooperative’s bylaws to bring them into conformity with recently enacted statewide transparency legislation.  This legislative language was added to the South Carolina Code of Laws by the General Assembly in 2019.  The vote on this question was 5,292 in favor, with 155 opposed.


In all, a record 6,840 members registered for the meeting.  A number of prizes were also given away in random drawings.  The winner of the grand prize, a 2008 Ford F-150 pickup, was Monty Dale Benjamin of Liberty, S.C.