utility worker in cherry picker up near tree SRP Worker|SRP Photo

Some of the officials who determine Arizona’s utility rates and policies are up for election next month.

Salt River Project (SRP), a nonprofit community-based utility company in central Arizona, will elect a few dozen new leaders next month. 

SRP officials are encouraging voters to mail in ballots for the April 7 election rather than voting in person to avoid large gatherings and allow people to practice social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. 

John M. Felty, SRP’s corporate secretary, told The Copper Courier its administration building in Tempe will be open for in-person voting on the day of the election as required by law. However, if the government calls for more drastic measures to prevent the disease’s spread, that may change. 

“This is the current plan barring any other state or federal mandate that might delay or change the in-person voting process,” Felty said in an email. “We are reacting to unprecedented information on a daily basis.” 

Only qualified landowners of properties located within SRP’s service area are eligible to vote. Voters must request a ballot by mail by March 27. 

For those not mailing in a ballot, the utility has switched from in-person early voting to an outdoor drop box at its administration building in Tempe that will be monitored by staff. This box is available from now through April 7. 

On the day of the election, two more drop boxes will be available – the SRP West Valley Service Center in Tolleson and the SRP Southside Water Service Center in Mesa. 

The official election results will be announced April 13, and the newly elected officials will begin their terms on May 4 or 5. 

Who You’re Voting For in the SRP Election

SRP is divided into two organizations, each of which have their own governing structures. Both groups are divided into 10 voting districts and each have a president, a vice president, and 30 council members. The Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association elects a 10-member board of governors, while the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District elects a 14-member board of directors. 

On April 7, voters will elect five board members and 15 council members for each organization to four-year terms. The voting areas participating are districts 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. The District will also choose two additional at-large board members. 

There are a lot of candidates to sort through, but some group themselves by ideology. For example, the SRP Clean Energy campaign represents six candidates running for various positions who advocate for renewable energy. The campaign’s main priorities include increasing SRP’s amount of solar power and keeping rates low. The candidates also want to restore the return on investment for homeowner rooftop solar power that SRP took away in 2015.

There is also the Keep the Flow campaign representing six candidates, five of them incumbents. This group says they want to focus on “urban irrigation, renewable energy, and affordable power.”

Only those who are registered to vote with the State of Arizona and own land within District or Association boundaries qualify to vote in SRP elections.