Legislature unanimously approves Padden bill to expand voting options for cooperative associations

Today the House unanimously passed Sen. Mike Padden’s measure to let members of cooperative associations cast votes electronically. The bill also passed the Senate unanimously in February.

“More than a year into the pandemic, many businesses and associations are still having difficulty in safely and regularly meeting to conduct their business,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “I’m pleased to see the Legislature come together to help some of our rural utilities conduct their business remotely.

“These new options will help cooperative associations function legally and safely. It’s a simple solution to give these non-profits the same tools many other organizations already utilize.”

Cooperative associations operate under law and specific guidelines that require members to vote in person. These meetings provide consistency and transparency in operations, and often have occurred regardless of wars and natural disasters. The global COVID-19 pandemic, however, has made it difficult or completely impractical to conduct such gatherings safely.

Under Senate Bill 5347, a member of a cooperative association may vote in person or, unless otherwise provided by the articles of incorporation, by mail, electronic transmission, or proxy executed by the member, or a duly authorized attorney-in-fact.

The bill now moves to Gov. Jay Inslee for his consideration.