How to Adjust Your Co-op’s Bylaws to Allow for Modern Voting

Outdated laws, charters and bylaws exist everywhere. In the state of Minnesota, for example, it was illegal for nursing homes and senior centers to play bingo more than two days per week. After a review of outdated laws, the legislature removed it from the books in 2015.

Just as it makes sense to get rid of antiquated laws, it is beneficial for your evolving cooperative to review and update your bylaws to keep up with your membership and changing times.

Outdated bylaws can create confusion, higher costs and even low voter response rates in member elections, especially when you’re seeking to modernize your voting options. Sometimes your co-op’s bylaws just need a little tune-up, but in other cases it may require a complete overhaul.

But how do you know it’s time to update your bylaws?

Your cooperative doesn’t have a bylaw committee.

A bylaw committee should be well-rounded and diverse in skill sets, age, etc., In short, it should be representative of your membership and understand how updates can help your co-op save money and increase member convenience.

Your bylaws haven’t been updated or amended for years (or ever).

Amendments and updates to bylaws and election policies may require member approval, so it is important to establish procedures or follow those already in place to ensure everything is legal and legitimate.

And since you’re focusing on your bylaws, don’t make them too difficult to amend in the future and you’ll be better able to adapt as your cooperative continues to evolve.

No one is quite sure exactly how to update your organization’s bylaws.

Consult an attorney before beginning the process and keep them in the loop throughout – in some cases, state statutes override an organization’s bylaws, so working with legal counsel is the only way to be certain your cooperative is compliant.

One common reason many co-ops review and revise their bylaws is to include the ability to offer online and mobile voting options in the organization’s elections.

Why is this an area of focus?

Members are increasingly requesting the ability to vote anywhere, any time to make participation on their co-op’s governance convenient. Additionally, online voting saves postage, printing, mailing and staff costs. Cooperative bylaws often need to be amended to allow for modernization of election procedures.

Does your co-op have questions about when and how to amend your bylaws? Contact us today, and we can share our best practices and guidance