One trait that makes a co-op a co-op is that every member gets one vote on important issues. In co-op circles this is known simply as “one member, one vote”.
Other types of corporations often provide shareholders more votes if they own more shares in the company. Co-ops don’t allow for this type of concentrated voting. Whether you’ve bought a $1,000 investment share or a $10 membership share, you have the same amount of influence on the co-op’s decisions: one vote.
Why is this so important to the co-op structure? Because providing members with a good or service is generally the reason co-operatives exist. The one member, one vote system helps ensure a co-op acts in its members’ best interests.