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Subject: Proxy votes
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Author Messages
HalT
(Florida)

Posts:9


11/20/2008 7:18 PM  
Anybody know the proper procedure for proxy votes being used at an annual board election? I live in FLorida.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


11/20/2008 11:02 PM  
HalT,
General answer: Hopefully you documents will address Proxies and spell out what is acceptable..


If they don't: Use the search top right of this page. There is a lot of stuff on file here. Another source is Robert's Rules of order, but most likely you will have specific local quidelines.

In any event: If you are questionimg your association procedures, past and present, be aware once the action is done, you will find it hard to undo. If fraud is concerned, you can file suit on your own, but I suspect it would not be worth it. Now, if procedures are just sloppy or have a heavy Board hand or are not counted correctly or any another sloppy treatment, spend the next year getting support to change your Proxy procedures to acceptable standards.
SusanW1
(Michigan)

Posts:5202


11/21/2008 5:25 AM  
There are many steps that can be taken before "filing suit" about the validity of an election and/or motion. Motions can be recinded; elections declared null and void and re-done.
DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


11/21/2008 5:56 AM  

Hal,
Here is the Statute that you follow along with your governing documents (bylaws). It is 720:306 (8)

8) PROXY VOTING.--The members have the right, unless otherwise provided in this subsection or in the governing documents, to vote in person or by proxy. To be valid, a proxy must be dated, must state the date, time, and place of the meeting for which it was given, and must be signed by the authorized person who executed the proxy. A proxy is effective only for the specific meeting for which it was originally given, as the meeting may lawfully be adjourned and reconvened from time to time, and automatically expires 90 days after the date of the meeting for which it was originally given. A proxy is revocable at any time at the pleasure of the person who executes it. If the proxy form expressly so provides, any proxy holder may appoint, in writing, a substitute to act in his or her place.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


11/21/2008 6:18 AM  
SusanW1,
When would you say these measures (steps)should be taken when an association doesn't follow to the letter a set of guidelines?

My experience: Not worth the trouble. Clear the air through posting on web site, or making a motion at Board meetings and get a commitment from Board all will be set right at next annual meeting. If someone goes to all the manipulations needed to sway an election with proxies, I doubt you can get it all straightened out in a year. Best to get it out in open, have the Board correct it, and move on.

I am sure there are exceptions to all this I propose, valid ones, and a few that would over ride my suggestions, but, all these would surely indicate there is a serious problem and proxies are only part of the whole picture.
BruceF1
(Connecticut)

Posts:2535


11/21/2008 7:14 AM  
Posted By HalT on 11/20/2008 7:18 PM
Anybody know the proper procedure for proxy votes being used at an annual board election? I live in FLorida.


Hal,

From the responses I read, I'm not sure your question is being answered. You didn't indicate that there was an issue, only an inquiry as to how proxy votes are handled. I don't know what the specifics are for Florida, or even if they are allowed for HOAs in Florida. And, of course, the specifics should be in your documents.

But, I can explain proxy voting in general, if that helps.

People sometimes get confused between proxy voting and absentee voting. They are not the same thing. Either is a way to vote if you can't be present in person, but absentee voting uses an absentee ballot, with the specific question or questions (or election) to be voted on placed on the ballot that only the individual entitled to vote can complete and return to be counted. Absentee voting cannot be used if the question to be decided or if all the candidates to be elected are not known prior to the meeting at which the voting is to take place. The reason is obvious; there is no way to place such information on the absentee ballot since it is unknown.

Proxy voting is a limited power of attorney. It is a document that is signed by the person who is entitled to vote authorizing another person (the proxy) to attend the meeting and vote as the individual's representative. Because candidates to be elected often can be nominated from the floor (and therefore not known beforehand, so their names cannot appear on an absentee ballot), proxy voting is often used, when allowed, as a method of electing directors to a board. The proxy, who is present, then has knowledge of the full slate of candidates and can make a choice on behalf of the individual who is entitled to vote but is unable to be present. A proxy may be for a prescribed period of time (a year, 3 months, a month, whatever), or it may be for only a specific occasion. That is usually specified in the document authorizing the proxy. Also, usually a proxy can be revoked by the individual entitled to vote.

There are a couple of problems with proxy votes, which is why some people don't like them. Unless the individual who is entitled to vote provides specific, written instructions to the proxy on exactly how to vote or on whom to vote for, the proxy may vote in any way he or she chooses. Hopefully, it will be in the interest of the person entitled to vote or close to how he or she would have voted, but it doesn't have to be. It's difficult to provide specific instructions when there are nominations from the floor since you don't know beforehand who the candidates will be. Perhaps you could provide instructions like, "vote for the the following individuals in this priority", or something like "in any case, you may not vote for the following individuals." It's not perfect, but it's better than no instructions at all.

Proxies can be, and sometimes are, abused. Usually, there is no limit to the number of proxies a person can hold. So, suppose another homeowner solicits five unspecified proxys from other homeowners that are not going to attend a meeting for an election. This individual now has six votes (five proxies plus his or her own vote) that can be voted in any way he or she chooses. For this reason, many people consider proxy voting to be unfair.

Proxy voting has its good points and its bad points. Each person has his or her own view on whether the good outweighs the bad or the bad outweighs the good.
DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


11/21/2008 7:23 AM  

Hal,
Just an addition to my post of the Statue rule on proxy voting. Your governing documents MAY and I stress--MAY not allow the use of Proxy voting but if they do, then the Statute applies as to how they are to be used. Florida only allows the use of "Limited" proxies, which means that they can only be used for the stated purpose on the proxy and within the timeframe outlined in the Statute..
SusannaM
(Florida)

Posts:366


11/21/2008 7:41 AM  
Bruce, I'd have to agree that there are pro and cons to proxy voting, and each HOA faces its own scenario. For instance, we are having board elections in less than 3 weeks. I'm also in FL like the OP. Our proxy encourages voters to attend and alos gives instructions to mail or fax their proxy to the property managemnet co. if they don't plan or can't attend. We don't have a ballot per se. Board members are not seeking re-election. I took care of that (don't ask me particulars about this.) Our bylaws do not address annual meetings of the HOA at all since they date back to 1994 when developer had full control. Previous boards have done nothing to amend or revise our bylaws. But going back to our Proxy, I don't like the idea of giving the property manager or property management company unlimited number of votes through proxies. But again, there is nothing we can do to change that at this time. All I can do is try to collect as many proxies from neighbors, attend the annual meeting, and hope for the best.

Your thoughts.

MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


11/21/2008 7:50 AM  
Posted By SusannaM on 11/21/2008 7:41 AM
Bruce, I'd have to agree that there are pro and cons to proxy voting, and each HOA faces its own scenario. For instance, we are having board elections in less than 3 weeks. I'm also in FL like the OP. Our proxy encourages voters to attend and alos gives instructions to mail or fax their proxy to the property managemnet co. if they don't plan or can't attend. We don't have a ballot per se. Board members are not seeking re-election. I took care of that (don't ask me particulars about this.) Our bylaws do not address annual meetings of the HOA at all since they date back to 1994 when developer had full control. Previous boards have done nothing to amend or revise our bylaws. But going back to our Proxy, I don't like the idea of giving the property manager or property management company unlimited number of votes through proxies. But again, there is nothing we can do to change that at this time. All I can do is try to collect as many proxies from neighbors, attend the annual meeting, and hope for the best.

Your thoughts.






From Donna's post: "If the proxy form expressly so provides, any proxy holder may appoint, in writing, a substitute to act in his or her place. "


I'm curious as to what part of the proxy designates the proxy to be EXECUTED by the PM company? If I send in a proxy, I will most likely send it in designating a person whose judgment I respect to vote in my stead. I doubt that would be the PM. Most likely I would locate a neighbor who I feel has similar mindset and worldview to me.

BruceF1
(Connecticut)

Posts:2535


11/21/2008 8:00 AM  
Susanna,

In general, anyone may be designated as a proxy. I find it hard to believe that there may be something in Florida law or in your governing docs that require a proxy to be a specific someone.

Therefore, I don't think it would be a requirement to designate the property manager as the proxy. I don't see anything wrong with that, since anyone can be a proxy, and it's a matter best left up to the individual person entitled to vote. It's probably suggested more as a matter of convenience than anything else, and under the assumption that the property manager would likely be a "neutral" party and would vote wisely.

Given that a proxy can be anyone, I would be more inclined to designate someone I trust such as a close relative or friend as a proxy. The proxy shouldn't necessarily have to be someone else that lives in the community. If that is a requirement, then I would question its legality.

I might also be inclined to designate how the proxy is to vote, such as in the examples I gave in my previous post. It's not perfect, but it's more likely that the vote would be cast similar to how I would have voted.
BruceF1
(Connecticut)

Posts:2535


11/21/2008 8:03 AM  
Or, it may be as Michele said. The PM is merely collecting the proxies, not actually casting the votes. Usually, that's the secretary's responsibility, but that function is ofen delegated to a property manager.
SusannaM
(Florida)

Posts:366


11/21/2008 8:17 AM  
Yes, I agree, it's a matter of convenience. And, yes there is provision for a substitute who most likely will be the current Secretary.
SusannaM
(Florida)

Posts:366


11/21/2008 8:24 AM  
Oh, and forgot to add that yes, we must write the name of the person we appoint as proxy.
DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


11/21/2008 8:33 AM  

Bruce and Michelle,

I have seen on several ballots, especially when there is an amendment, that the ballot offers the Secretary of the association to be named the proxy designee. This works well where the association has a hard time acquiring a quorum, the Secretary then can cast all of the proxies as she sees fit if the ballot is worded that way. Some ballots allow the owner of the Proxy to check their vote but it is cast by the designee. This is why the use of proxies is sometimes not a clear cut system.
SusannaM
(Florida)

Posts:366


11/21/2008 8:41 AM  
HalT, were all these posts helpful to you ????
EdieL
(Virginia)

Posts:86


11/21/2008 1:45 PM  
DonnaS, I agree with you. BUT we just had a special meeting
where proxy cards for casting a vote was sent out with the
HOA Secretary as the limited power of attorney. She then used
the proxies to also establish a quroum for the meeting. A proxy
needs to state the specific purpose given, which ours did. Misuse
of that proxy for any other use, I believe is a crime.
Edie
DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


11/21/2008 2:33 PM  

Edie,
I do not know Virginia HOA laws but I wonder how the Secretary got Limited Power of Attorney? Does Virginia Law not reccognize a Limited Proxy which would give her power to vote from designees?
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


11/21/2008 2:46 PM  
And here we have the result of Murphy's Law in regard to Proxies.

If anything can go wrong..............it will.
BruceF1
(Connecticut)

Posts:2535


11/21/2008 4:48 PM  
Posted By EdieL on 11/21/2008 1:45 PM
DonnaS, I agree with you. BUT we just had a special meeting
where proxy cards for casting a vote was sent out with the
HOA Secretary as the limited power of attorney. She then used
the proxies to also establish a quroum for the meeting. A proxy
needs to state the specific purpose given, which ours did. Misuse
of that proxy for any other use, I believe is a crime.
Edie


Read your declaration (CCRs) and bylaws. Check the quorum requirement. Many documents define a quorum as "XX% of the members entitled to vote in person or by proxy" or something similar. If your docs contain similar wording, proxies may be used to help establish a quorum.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


11/21/2008 5:17 PM  
A comment,
Seems to again point out that all procedural processes should be worked out before the actual voting. In this case, it is a special meeting, which must have provided an advance notice to all members. That is the time to clarify how the voting will be done. If not provided with the notice of meeting, I would contact the Board and insist procedures for voting be included.
SusannaM
(Florida)

Posts:366


11/21/2008 5:31 PM  
RobertR, the following is the 1st paragraph of Proxy I've received. There are no instructions as to the vote procedure itself or specifics about a Quorum.

" That the undersigned owner of ____________ (address) of XXXXXXXX
constitutes and appoints _______________ (name) or the Secretary of the Association as the true agent and proxy of the undersigned, with full powers of substitution, for and in the name of the undersigned, to attend the Annual Meeting of XXXXXXXXXXXXX to be held XXXXXXXXXXX, and any adjournment of the meeting, for the purpose of acting on all matters and in all things that come before that meeting or meetings and any and all adjournment, and to represent the undersigned with all powers that the undersigned would possess if personally present."

Your comments.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


11/21/2008 10:59 PM  
Susanna,
I would take strong exception to any mention of a specific person or office that could be assigned the vote. I know it is done all the time but having observed the apathy of owners in associations I think this little trick is just adding to the problem. Managing an association is a two way street and a 52 week/year job. Communications is not easy and the tendency to lead the members in specific directions should be avoided. I am convinced that the BOD do know more about what needs to be done and are more knowledagable than the single owner. However, since that is not a constant fact, the only fair recourse is communication and education. Can this be done? I'm not sure, but that should be the motivation, not a few BOD members pushing and shoving the masses to get the job done. I am also becoming more and more satisfied that even with good communications efforts, some folks are not going to respond, so, instead of a pure democratic process I am more willing to accept the leadership of a smaller number if I am convinced all this "leadership" has demonstrated they care enough. I know, it is not a logical conclusion but "it is what it is."

Also proxies need to have the close scrutiny of my "leadership" group and fairness must be maintained. If my "group" has done their communicating over the year, the need to "load" the proxy will not exist. The Board will be assigned all the votes they need and specific name suggestions will not be necessary. Inform the owners of how and why proxies are necessary in Board reports during the year.
MaryA1


Posts:0


11/22/2008 3:17 AM  
Robert,

Because so many boards abuse the proxy vote is the reason AZ outlawed proxy voting several years ago. Too many boards were stating only a board member could be designated a proxy and were not accepting proxies assigned to other than a board member. I don't know if this is legal, but it was being done and the board's were getting away with it. When there is no state agency to oversee HOAs, boards can get away with just about anything, as you know.
MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


11/22/2008 9:13 AM  
And, Robert, conversely I would take strong objection to signing a proxy that did NOT designate to whom I give my right to vote. I want my vote in the hands of someone I have some modicum of knowledge will vote in a way consistent with my preferences and values.
SusannaM
(Florida)

Posts:366


11/22/2008 9:30 AM  
Posted By MicheleD on 11/22/2008 9:13 AM
And, Robert, conversely I would take strong objection to signing a proxy that did NOT designate to whom I give my right to vote. I want my vote in the hands of someone I have some modicum of knowledge will vote in a way consistent with my preferences and values.




Michelle, I get the hint....
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


11/22/2008 9:37 AM  
MicheleD,
My reference is the suggesting by the Board (who else), that the owner assign their right to (in this case, the secretary), or anyother unnamed person. I suppose that agrees with what you said above. I also want more that a modicum of knowledge concerning a vote. As far as quorum is concerned, I am in favor of lowering the % required for a meeting to something realistic to the individual association. The evils of this are clear but anything is better than no meetings. As far as assigning a proxy for vote, be it election or specific issue, I don't like them, they get abused. Another consideration is for attentive and knowledgeable owners to to form a civic group and actively solicit proxies from members. I would buy into that if I were going to be absent at a meeting, but only if I had reason to support the effort.
HalT
(Florida)

Posts:9


11/22/2008 11:50 AM  
Thank you all for the info. It kind of supports my thoughts as well. I think the best thing to do is lie low for the year and next year, since there will be 3 out of 5 spots available, flood my community for their votes. I lost this years election by 9 votes. I believe the proxy process was not handled properly to "fix" the election but I will try again next year.
Again, thank you everyone on a job well done.
HalT
(Florida)

Posts:9


11/22/2008 11:50 AM  
Thank you all for the info. It kind of supports my thoughts as well. I think the best thing to do is lie low for the year and next year, since there will be 3 out of 5 spots available, flood my community for their votes. I lost this years election by 9 votes. I believe the proxy process was not handled properly to "fix" the election but I will try again next year.
Again, thank you everyone on a job well done.
DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


11/22/2008 11:59 AM  

Hal,
How are your votes counted? By a committee or how? You also have the right to designate a spotter at the counting if you are uncertain that things are not being done properly. But at least you gave it a good try. As you said, next year you can try again. get out there so that the members of your community know that you are working in everyones best interest. Good Luck to you.
MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


11/22/2008 12:18 PM  
Posted By SusannaM on 11/22/2008 9:30 AM
Posted By MicheleD on 11/22/2008 9:13 AM
And, Robert, conversely I would take strong objection to signing a proxy that did NOT designate to whom I give my right to vote. I want my vote in the hands of someone I have some modicum of knowledge will vote in a way consistent with my preferences and values.




Michelle, I get the hint....





?? what "hint" ??


I would like to get it, too. . . .
SusannaM
(Florida)

Posts:366


11/22/2008 1:56 PM  
Forget it, I'm getting dizzy with all these posts.....
Have a nice holiday!!!
KM1
(FL)

Posts:62


11/21/2009 3:57 PM  
Seeking more advice on the legitimacy of our current BOD election procedures. Understand that if provided on our bylaws, our bylaws supersede FL statutes. Our bylaws state "Election to the Board of Directors shall be written by secret ballot. At such election the members or their proxies may case, in respect to each vacancy, as many votes as they are entitled to exercise under the provisions of the Declaration. The election may be conducted via mail...."

We just received a letter notifying us the election is to be conducted via mail. A mailed ballot (with cut-off date to send in) was provided and no proxies. Our annual meeting is a couple days later, where I assume the ballots will be counted.

Since the BOD notified us that the election is to be done by mail, does that mean the necessity of the proxy is rescinded essentially?

Are we in trouble here? Your advice is appreciated!
MaryA1


Posts:0


11/22/2009 6:28 AM  
KM,

Just think about it. Why would you need proxies if the ballots are to be mailed in? It would take just as much time to designate a proxy as it would to put a stamp on the envelope and mail your own ballot in. The only reason for a proxy is to allow a member who is unable to attend the meeting their right to vote. Mail-in ballots are being used by many assn's to ensure a quorum at the annual meeting. My HOA did this a number of years ago and AZ state law changed to require mail-in ballots several years ago and to outlaw proxies.
DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


11/22/2009 6:43 AM  

KM,

As Mary said, why would you need a proxy if the election is to be done via mailed in ballots. There is no need at all. But my real question is what is happening to your annual meeting where elections should be done. You need to look in your Articles of Inc to see the requirements for the elections as in reference to the annual meeting. This does not seem right to me. The annual meeting is required by State Statutes in Not For Profit Corp and 720 laws.
MaryA1


Posts:0


11/22/2009 6:57 AM  
Donna,

I don't know about KM's HOA, but my assn still holds an annual meeting even though we are required (by state law and our amended bylaws) to use only mail-in ballots. The ballots must be recieved 5 days b/4 the meeting. At the meeting business is conducted accordingly; i.e., approval of last yr's minutes; treasurer's report, committee reports, intro of candidates and results of election; homeowner forum, etc.
KM1
(FL)

Posts:62


11/22/2009 8:28 AM  
Posted By MaryA1 on 11/22/2009 6:28 AM
KM,

Just think about it. Why would you need proxies if the ballots are to be mailed in? It would take just as much time to designate a proxy as it would to put a stamp on the envelope and mail your own ballot in. The only reason for a proxy is to allow a member who is unable to attend the meeting their right to vote. Mail-in ballots are being used by many assn's to ensure a quorum at the annual meeting. My HOA did this a number of years ago and AZ state law changed to require mail-in ballots several years ago and to outlaw proxies.




MaryA, I understand what you are saying, but sometimes after reading these laws repeatedly, I doubt my own "logical" interpretation. I wasn't sure if the mail-in ballots could be used to establish quorum if the bylaws state "The presence at the meeting of members entitled to cast, or of proxies entitled to cast...." I don't think quorum will be a problem because we only need 1/10th of membership and we have 84 homes. I was worried however, that just because we ASSUME there is easily going to be enough members to show at the annual meeting, shouldn't a proxy been provided in our mail voting package for quorum anyway? I realize you are saying the ballot could be used, but again, I didn't want to assume that because our bylaws do not state that. I've been asking a lot of questions, because I do worry that if everything isn't followed properly to the CCRs and FL Statutes, the whole election process may be challenged in the end and we start from scratch.
KM1
(FL)

Posts:62


11/22/2009 9:00 AM  
Posted By DonnaS on 11/22/2009 6:43 AM

KM,

As Mary said, why would you need a proxy if the election is to be done via mailed in ballots. There is no need at all. But my real question is what is happening to your annual meeting where elections should be done. You need to look in your Articles of Inc to see the requirements for the elections as in reference to the annual meeting. This does not seem right to me. The annual meeting is required by State Statutes in Not For Profit Corp and 720 laws.




DonnaS, we received a newsletter in the mailed voting package, and the newsletter advised the annual meeting would be a couple days after the cut-off date provided on the mail ballot. They did not specify anywhere how the counting of votes would happen and I am ASSUMING they are doing it at that annual meeting. It's been confusing because our CCRs state voting by mail MAY be used. By sending us a mail ballot with cutoff date, that tells me nominations will not be taken from the floor at the annual meeting. (Bylaws state nominations MAY be taken from floor at annual.) How can this be okay when only the nominating committee chooses the 5 names for candidates (allowed in bylaws)? Where is the opportunity for someone to self nominate if they aren't someone already pre-selected by a suspicious BOD? A couple days ago my neighbor and I realized we did not get a ballot last year (can't recall annual meeting notice and see no newsletter in my records). Coincidence? I'm starting to think not!

Actually, a current BOD member who has seen compounding suspicions (not verified by me but piqued my interest and others in requesting official records especially financial) called us a few days before a BOD meeting. He felt the election was going to be a fixed election and power play for a few bad apples. Not sure if we handled it right, because a few of us showed at the BOD essentially demanding to self nominate ourselves. Afterwards (my fault, have learned now) when scruitinizing the bylaws I read for BOD self-nominating this MAY be accepted from the floor at annual meeting. So if we few Members had NOT showed up at that BOD meeting (agendas not posted with 24 hr notice - how would one know BOD was doing candidate selection?) and demanded to self-nom, only those selected 5 names would have went out with the mail ballot. Or can someone still self-nom at the annual meeting even if a mail ballot was sent out with cut-off date prior to meeting (an no proxies given so no opportunity to vote AT the meeting). Doesn't add up....
KM1
(FL)

Posts:62


11/22/2009 9:00 AM  
Posted By DonnaS on 11/22/2009 6:43 AM

KM,

As Mary said, why would you need a proxy if the election is to be done via mailed in ballots. There is no need at all. But my real question is what is happening to your annual meeting where elections should be done. You need to look in your Articles of Inc to see the requirements for the elections as in reference to the annual meeting. This does not seem right to me. The annual meeting is required by State Statutes in Not For Profit Corp and 720 laws.




DonnaS, we received a newsletter in the mailed voting package, and the newsletter advised the annual meeting would be a couple days after the cut-off date provided on the mail ballot. They did not specify anywhere how the counting of votes would happen and I am ASSUMING they are doing it at that annual meeting. It's been confusing because our CCRs state voting by mail MAY be used. By sending us a mail ballot with cutoff date, that tells me nominations will not be taken from the floor at the annual meeting. (Bylaws state nominations MAY be taken from floor at annual.) How can this be okay when only the nominating committee chooses the 5 names for candidates (allowed in bylaws)? Where is the opportunity for someone to self nominate if they aren't someone already pre-selected by a suspicious BOD? A couple days ago my neighbor and I realized we did not get a ballot last year (can't recall annual meeting notice and see no newsletter in my records). Coincidence? I'm starting to think not!

Actually, a current BOD member who has seen compounding suspicions (not verified by me but piqued my interest and others in requesting official records especially financial) called us a few days before a BOD meeting. He felt the election was going to be a fixed election and power play for a few bad apples. Not sure if we handled it right, because a few of us showed at the BOD essentially demanding to self nominate ourselves. Afterwards (my fault, have learned now) when scruitinizing the bylaws I read for BOD self-nominating this MAY be accepted from the floor at annual meeting. So if we few Members had NOT showed up at that BOD meeting (agendas not posted with 24 hr notice - how would one know BOD was doing candidate selection?) and demanded to self-nom, only those selected 5 names would have went out with the mail ballot. Or can someone still self-nom at the annual meeting even if a mail ballot was sent out with cut-off date prior to meeting (an no proxies given so no opportunity to vote AT the meeting). Doesn't add up....
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


11/22/2009 9:34 AM  
To all,
I was going to remind all that a proxy for quorum may be required, even in a mail in vote. I would imagine that proxy could be included with the envelope for the mail in Ballot. I agree with KM, the Quorum requirement should be met.
I expect there are a number of ways this can be done. Of course if quorum is met without proxy, then the proxies should be noted for the record as to number and discarded.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


11/22/2009 9:48 AM  
Also, They are way too many "theys" in this thread and the whole mess is becoming muddier and muddier, I can't tell the bad guys from the good guys and this "smoke" probably has some fire, but I for one, don't think I can help at this stage of the game. All I am doing is confusing the issue.
KM1
(FL)

Posts:62


11/22/2009 11:04 AM  
Thanks, RobertR, I understand. I know for myself this has been a lot of info to process just over the past two weeks and it gets deeper the more we dig. In this short time we're having a hard time prioritizing and picking and choosing which issues to push as time gets closer to the voting at the annual meeting. We've got evidence of some mismanagement (board approving motion to waive monthly dues for a volunteer position, and compensation is prohibited in bylaws, non-BOD members/non-employees signing checks, etc.)by the BOD and I think this puts the BOD more on the "bad guys" side. The team of five Members I've been working with just want things handled as advised in the laws, so I tend to think these Members are the good guys.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


11/22/2009 11:37 AM  
KM, One thing I will say is that your explanation of the process you are starting so far has been on track. There will be decisions and priorities have to be set. Also, your discovery that the deeper you scratch the more you uncover. All well withing the bounds of what normaly happens. So, get organized, elect spokepersons, and don't sweat the small stuff. Take your time, seek little victorys, chew small bites and soon you will see cracks starting to appear which allows you all to get your leg in the door. ALWAYS be smart, always know what you are saying, saying nothing is better than speculating.

Keep in mind at this point this could be just misundersatanding, extend a friendly hand and aways offer to help officially, keep good records, and keep positive......................FINALLY..................do this for your association.....any other reason will fail in the end.
MaryA1


Posts:0


11/22/2009 1:10 PM  
Robert,

I mentioned the requirement for mail-in ballots in AZ and the elimination of proxies. The AZ statute also states that the mail-in ballots can be counted toward the quorum. I believe this would also apply to any assn that uses mail-in ballots. If the bylaws say voting may take place in person or by proxy or mail-in ballot, then all those means of voting should count toward the quorum requirement.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


11/22/2009 4:49 PM  
Mary,
I may be off base in the end, i don't know. But right now I think if there are provisions in her documents that link Provies and quorums, use proxies. however it doesn't appear km is going to be given any say in the matter anyway. I certainly agree if the documents, (like yours declare) are devoid of "proxies", they don't need to be used, in fact, they are prohibited. That doesn't mean all proxies are void everywhere. Just an opinion on my part.
MaryA1


Posts:0


11/23/2009 10:32 AM  
Robert,

You may be right in thinking her docs state a proxy may be acceptable in establishing a quorum. My bylaws state: "the presence, either in person or by proxy. . ." together with state law which says the mail-in ballot can be used to establish a quorum. This is not uncommon. However, IMO, a proxy isn't needed if mail-ballots are used even though it can be used to establish a quorum. I know each assn has different requirements and every state has different laws. AZ statute prohibits proxies. The law was passed mainly to prevent abuse of proxies which seems to occur often.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


11/23/2009 12:17 PM  
Mary,
I recall at the time AZ did this there was a man posting here that said it was going to happen, can't remember his name. Anyway I am all for it and I am also for counting Mail in ballots towards quorum.

But, as you say there are just so many differences when you say condo or HOA. I remember, I think, at this time there was a discussion to encourage association to lower the % needed for quorum. Our still stands at 66%, and any suggested reason I mentioned just sort of scared the Board at the time.
GlenL
(Ohio)

Posts:5491


11/23/2009 9:21 PM  
Posted By RobertR1 on 11/23/2009 12:17 PM
Mary,
I recall at the time AZ did this there was a man posting here that said it was going to happen, can't remember his name.



Robert it was probably HaroldS.

Studies show that 5 out of 4 people have problems with fractions
MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


11/24/2009 7:23 AM  
We don't use proxies, generally, but at any rate, we can only accept mail-in ballots and they can be used to make quorum as well.

Our docs only allow for mail-in voting and no in-person voting or nominations from the floor.

The first couple of years we did this (during and after transition), several people hand-carried their ballots in (I may have even been one of them) and we were told later by the attorney that technically those ballots could not have been accepted. All ballots are to be mailed, post-marked 5 days before the annual meeting, which is always the first Monday in March, and no ballot is to be opened before the meeting is called to order. They have to be opened, verified for eligibility and counted the night of the meeting.

RichardP13


Posts:0


11/24/2009 11:41 PM  
Proxies are almost necesary while you have a high quorum requirement for your annual meeting and elections. We will be going through the process of reducing or eliminating quorum requirements and voting percentages to amend by-laws through a special meeting I just called. We have to have the proxies to get the ballots in one way or the other. Our legal counsel said that in California a homeowner can just hand over their signed and sealed secret ballots going door to door. If that doesn't sound like past Chicago politics, I don't know what does.

Once we discuss how the changes are to be mailed, we will send out ballots to our members to vote. One of the provisions will be that proxy voting be eliminated if quorum rquirements and voting percentages are eliminated.
MaryA1


Posts:0


11/25/2009 7:39 AM  
Richard,

Perhaps you didn't read my previous messages. Proxies are not necessary to attain a quorum; mail-in ballots can accomplish the very same thing. Proxies are outlawed in AZ and mail-in ballots a requirement. I've not heard of any assn's that are unable to attain a quorum since this law went into effect several years ago.

IMO, neither quorum requirements nor voting %'s should be eliminated. If your assn has been having difficulties attaining a quorum I would suggest changing to the mail-in ballot requirement or you could make the requirement to vote in person or by mail-in ballot.

The mail-in ballots should be received by a certain date, usually 5 days prior to the meeting. Our PM counts the ballots as they arrive at their office and the results are reported at the annual meeting. Some assn's require that the ballots be opened and counted at the annual meeting. IMO, either procedure is acceptable. If you have a very large assn, counting the ballots at the meeting could take quite some time, so that should be taken into consideration.
RichardP13


Posts:0


11/25/2009 9:09 AM  
Posted By MaryA1 on 11/25/2009 7:39 AM
Richard,

Perhaps you didn't read my previous messages. Proxies are not necessary to attain a quorum; mail-in ballots can accomplish the very same thing. Proxies are outlawed in AZ and mail-in ballots a requirement. I've not heard of any assn's that are unable to attain a quorum since this law went into effect several years ago.

IMO, neither quorum requirements nor voting %'s should be eliminated. If your assn has been having difficulties attaining a quorum I would suggest changing to the mail-in ballot requirement or you could make the requirement to vote in person or by mail-in ballot.

The mail-in ballots should be received by a certain date, usually 5 days prior to the meeting. Our PM counts the ballots as they arrive at their office and the results are reported at the annual meeting. Some assn's require that the ballots be opened and counted at the annual meeting. IMO, either procedure is acceptable. If you have a very large assn, counting the ballots at the meeting could take quite some time, so that should be taken into consideration.




Mary

We are in California and have been under the Davis-Stirling Act since 2006. How would changing to a mail-in ballot procedure improve the Association's chance of achieving quorum at the annual meeting and for the election of board members? Are you suggesting that we keep our 51% majority of owners voting to elect boatd members.
MaryA1


Posts:0


11/25/2009 11:41 AM  
Richard,

To my way of thinking, a mail-in ballot is the easiest means of voting. Some assn's will even include a stamped, self-addressed envelope to return the ballot. The mail-in ballot is also used for quorum purposes. Frankly, I see no need for proxies if mail-in ballots are used. I checked out the Davis-Stirling Act and could not see anything stating mail-in ballots cannot be used. In fact 1363.03(k) states: "Except for the meeting to count the votes required in subdivision (f), an election may be conducted entirely by mail unless otherwise specified in the governing documents." I interpret that to mean the election can be conducted solely by mail-in ballots.

I'm not suggesting keeping the 51% majority. I was only saying the quorum requirement and vote % should not be eliminated. The quorum generally is a majority but if the members vote to reduce that %, so be it. I don't know what your vote % is, but some assn's don't even have a % requirement. The person(s) receiving the highest number of votes is declared the winner(s).

RichardP13


Posts:0


11/25/2009 11:59 AM  
What I advocate is eliminating the voting % all together, annual meeting, elections and amending by-laws. This way the homeowners that do vote have their vote count. The person(s) with the highest count wins. This is what happens in municipal elections and I don't see any chaos.

Since 2002 when the developer turn the community over to the homeowners there hasn't ever been quorum reached. People don't want to waste their time running when they have no chance of getting elected because not enough members voted. The board who is all apponted has no incentative to make changes.

Our elections, because of the Davis-Stirling Act, are by secret ballot. Because of the way they the PM conduct the elections, I think you would consider this a mail in ballot.

Because of electioneering laws, you can't walk up to a house and campaign or get people to vote because you are within 100 feet of a polling place, their home. So first thing to do is make changes to some of the election requirements, so that every vote will count in the future. To accomplish this, proxies have to be used, but I would eliminate them once voting become just a simple majority.

Our quorum requiremts are 50% plus 1 and amending by-laws is 51%, both of the voting membership in good standing.
MaryA1


Posts:0


11/25/2009 12:08 PM  
Richard,

Are you saying you do require mail-in ballots but still cannot achieve the majority quorum requirement? If, in fact, that is the case then you should use proxies if only to count toward a quorum. If you eliminate the vote % and just elect those with the highest number of votes, it won't matter how many ballots are cast.
RichardP13


Posts:0


11/25/2009 12:14 PM  
At least then they would be elected by the members and not appointed by the board.
MaryA1


Posts:0


11/25/2009 12:32 PM  
Richard,

Which is a good thing!
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


11/25/2009 12:32 PM  
Richard,
Man, I'm confused.
Who would be elected by the Board to do what. Who elected the Board. Who appoints the Board. How many units in you HOA. Does your schemes apply to condos and HOA and wouldn't the number of units have to be a factor? Also tell us more about how a homeowner can not knock on his neighbors door and ask for his vote in an association election. How about a tyown hall meeting?
RichardP13


Posts:0


11/25/2009 12:43 PM  
Posted By RobertR1 on 11/25/2009 12:32 PM
Richard,
Man, I'm confused.
Who would be elected by the Board to do what. Who elected the Board. Who appoints the Board. How many units in you HOA. Does your schemes apply to condos and HOA and wouldn't the number of units have to be a factor? Also tell us more about how a homeowner can not knock on his neighbors door and ask for his vote in an association election. How about a tyown hall meeting?




Since the developer turned the community over to the homeowners all board members have been appointed by themselves. This has gone on since 2002. We have elections but never have reached the required quorum. If a board member resigned, then the board appointed anothe, usually with the blessing or recomendation of the PM. We have 317 units here in Southern Califoria. Electioneering laws prohibit campaigning within 100 feet of a polling place. Since the balots were mailed to you and they are requesting you mail them back, your residence constitutes a polling place. I don't write the laws. I have already gotten the required signatures to call a special meeting and just sent the petition to the PM to have the board set a date. It will be a town meeting of sorts.
RichardP13


Posts:0


11/25/2009 12:50 PM  
We had the lawyer for the association cancel last weeks annual meeting and elections because of a lack of quorum, never allowing the members present to vote to adjourn to a new meeting that was already set by the PM . How screwed up is that?
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


11/25/2009 1:48 PM  
Richard, it is screwed up when the Board allows an attorney and a PM to run their meetings.
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