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Subject: Secret Ballots
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Author Messages
PegM1
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:24


03/23/2021 7:38 PM  
I am throwing myself at the mercy of the helpful and knowledgeable people here at HOATalk.com. I think I broke my brain trying to come to terms with our HOA's concept of a secret ballot. Any help and input are appreciated and may help me regain my limited sanity.

Our Declaration requires the Board of Directors Election by conducted by secret ballot; so do our Bylaws. Following is the election procedure the management company has decreed:

"An index card will be included in the ballot envelope. The index card will provide space for each homeowner to print their name and address and then sign. In order to cast their ballot, homeowners must place their completed ballot and completed index card inside the envelope and seal it. A ballot will not be counted if it is not accompanied by a completed index card."

How is this a secret ballot? If the homeowner must provide an index card with identifying information with the ballot, how can that be secret?

Based on our governing documents, can the management company require this procedure. BTW, our current board has given the management company complete control of the election. Should there be some impartial homeowners observing the management company when they count the votes? The management company staff is taking the ballots and counting them at their offices and letting the residents know the results the next day.

THANK YOU FOR ANY ADVICE OR GUIDANCE!
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:544


03/24/2021 3:45 AM  
I don't understand your concern. If the index cards aren't shared with other owners then to me it is a secret ballot. I would be interested in knowing how you think the process should work.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10060


03/24/2021 4:56 AM  
Have to agree with JohnT here for once. You said MANAGEMENT company taking the vote. They are NOT the HOA. So the MC is requiring the card so they can verify the person voting secret ballot is eligible to cast their vote. How else supposed to know the person whom is voting is eligible?

Maybe your straining your brain because your trying to fit things into your way of thinking?

Former HOA President
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:544


03/24/2021 5:32 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 03/24/2021 4:56 AM
Have to agree with JohnT here for once. You said MANAGEMENT company taking the vote. They are NOT the HOA. So the MC is requiring the card so they can verify the person voting secret ballot is eligible to cast their vote. How else supposed to know the person whom is voting is eligible?

Maybe your straining your brain because your trying to fit things into your way of thinking?




Melissa, I consider the fact that you don't often agree with me a compliment and it tells me that I'm on the right track. I'm also impressed that for this post you were able to post a coherent answer that doesn't leave the reader and other regular members here scratching their heads.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1746


03/24/2021 5:56 AM  
My only suggestion for the OP's association would be to provide two envelopes per owner. The actual ballot could be sealed inside one envelope, and then the post card and sealed envelope placed inside the second envelope. This guarantees that only owners vote and that the ballots are secret.

The way the OP's association is doing it now assumes that the management company is completely impartial and honest. Usually they are, but we've heard of some instances where this isn't the case (eg. Paul from NY's association where employees of the management company had seats on the board).

So I agree with the OP that this is a concern, although how big of a concern I don't know. Easily fixed with the two envelopes and having a homeowner or two present at the counting of votes.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:846


03/26/2021 9:35 AM  
No, it is not a secret ballot if anyone can see who you voted for. The fact that the people counting the ballots are nice people and would never do anything wrong is not the point.

There are ways to have secret ballots while also confirming that the ballots are properly cast by owners. We don't have secret ballots so I don't have suggestions but I'm sure if you do an internet search for HOA secret ballots you will find good ways to do it.
MaxB4
(Maine)

Posts:74


03/26/2021 10:42 AM  
Posted By PegM1 on 03/23/2021 7:38 PM
I am throwing myself at the mercy of the helpful and knowledgeable people here at HOATalk.com. I think I broke my brain trying to come to terms with our HOA's concept of a secret ballot. Any help and input are appreciated and may help me regain my limited sanity.

Our Declaration requires the Board of Directors Election by conducted by secret ballot; so do our Bylaws. Following is the election procedure the management company has decreed:

"An index card will be included in the ballot envelope. The index card will provide space for each homeowner to print their name and address and then sign. In order to cast their ballot, homeowners must place their completed ballot and completed index card inside the envelope and seal it. A ballot will not be counted if it is not accompanied by a completed index card."

How is this a secret ballot? If the homeowner must provide an index card with identifying information with the ballot, how can that be secret?

Based on our governing documents, can the management company require this procedure. BTW, our current board has given the management company complete control of the election. Should there be some impartial homeowners observing the management company when they count the votes? The management company staff is taking the ballots and counting them at their offices and letting the residents know the results the next day.

THANK YOU FOR ANY ADVICE OR GUIDANCE!



This is NOT considered a Secret Ballot. I do happen to conduct HOA elections, and this is not even close.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7949


03/26/2021 3:25 PM  
Max, Ben & Cathy re right. Your situation isn't a secret ballot activity.

In CA where secret ballots are required for lotsa things, Owners are sent 2 envelopes in their election package. An outer mailing envelope which the owner must sign and print their HOA property. address on. This is the mailing envelope. The owner puts their competed ballot in an inner envelope which has nothing on it. The inner envelope goes in the mailing envelop and is sent or delivered as directed in the election materials.

In Ca, ballots must e counted where owners may observe the inspectors fo election who do the tabulating.

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