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Subject: write-in votes
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CrystalK1


Posts:0


06/24/2012 2:09 PM  
Our HOA was formed under PA 137, Incorporation of Summer Resort Owners. At this year's Annual Meeting the membership will elect two trustees, each to represent a named road, and two trustees-at-large (four trustees total).

Two weeks ago, ballots were mailed to each property owner. The ballots list the candidate(s) running for each position. Each position also includes a blank line for a write-in candidate.

Our new HOA President has called a closed session for tomorrow. Although the President will not let the trustees know the purpose of the meeting, we believe that the purpose is to try to scuttle or postpone the election because we have included write-in votes.

Last month, I e-mailed a draft of the ballot to the six trustees. Four trustees approved the ballot as presented (with an option for write-in votes), a fifth trustee did not reply, and the President (the sixth trustee) did not reply.

My longstanding belief has been that, because our bylaws do not prohibit write-in votes, we must permit them.

Is this correct?

(The (very unpopular) HOA President is running for re-election this year. In our HOA, officers are elected from the pool of trustees.)

Thank you!

CarolR11


Posts:0


06/24/2012 2:28 PM  
What is your role, Chrystal? Are you on an election committee? Or?

Did the 4 trustees approve the ballot at an open meeting? Or was it approved some other way?

I don't know if you're permitted to include space for a write-in vote or not if your bylaws are silent. You may want to check your state's laws on that topic.

Does the membership elect officers as a part of the election? Or does the new board appoint/elect your officers?
CrystalK1


Posts:0


06/24/2012 4:31 PM  
My apologies for not giving a better explanation.

I'm the HOA Secretary, a trustee.

The membership elects the trustees. Some trustees are elected in odd-numbered years. Other trustees are elected in even-numbered years. Every year, the trustees elect from among themselves a President, Treasurer, and Secretary.

I have found that the Michigan Attorney General has opined that Michigan's Business Corporation Act, 1972 PA 284 applies to "summer resort associations” such as ours.

I have found that Robert's Rules allows for write-in votes, and our bylaws don't prohibit write-in votes.


CarolR11


Posts:0


06/24/2012 6:11 PM  
Ah, Crystal, I now see that the board approved the ballot with the write-space by email. In many states, conducting board business online only is legit if there's unanimous approval, but I don't know about yours. Perhaps that's going to be the president's objection?
When is the election?

Still, if there's time before the election at the closed meeting, your board can vote to approve the write-in space. We, too, have relied on Robert's when our bylaws and state laws both are silent.

I'm kinda shocked that the president isn't revealing the agenda ahead of the closed meeting. In CA, eff., 1/12, the agenda (with details deleted in certain cases, e.g., hearings) for executive session must even be posted for the membership to see 2 days before the meeting. But we directors have always known the agenda in advance so that we can properly prepare! We do not believe in blindsiding our fellow directors.

CrystalK1


Posts:0


06/24/2012 7:07 PM  
The running of our HOA has been problematic in the past year or so.

Earlier this year, the current President had refused to call a board meeting so we could discuss road maintenance. (Our HOA has private roads.) As the roads became increasingly dusty and filled with potholes, five of the six trustees had decided to hold a general membership meeting. (Our bylaws state that the President calls board meetings, but that a majority of the trustees can call a general membership meeting.) Just before a general membership meeting was scheduled, the President became available and agreed to a board meeting. At the board meeting, the board decided that we would issue a call for nominations, followed by a printed ballot a month or so later. During the meeting, I stated that I was sure we'd have to allow for write-in votes. It was decided that I would e-mail a draft ballot to the board. After I e-mailed the draft to the board, four trustees (including me) approved of the wording. The President did not respond (as is his custom).

Our HOA must comply with the Michigan Open Meetings Act. I understand that and respect that. But it's not possible to convene a meeting and to notice the membership before every decision the board makes. It's just not possible. We trustees are volunteers and it's very hard to find a time that all six trustees are available to meet.

At a board meeting, we always report on all the business that has taken place in the time between board meetings.

Regarding the executive session, my understanding is that, in open session, the board needs to vote on whether to go into executive session if the purpose is not one of the permissible reasons. My opinion is that to discuss whether to allow write-in votes is not a permissible reason.

My apologies for my rambling reply. I'm frustrated and feel very unprepared for the meeting tomorrow because the President will not reply to many trustees' requests for the topic to be discussed.

Crystal
(frustrated HOA secretary)


CarolR11


Posts:0


06/24/2012 7:29 PM  
If the prez only wants to change the ballot format, it sure wouldn't be a permissible reason to hold E.S. in CA either.
CarolR11


Posts:0


06/25/2012 2:29 PM  
How'd the meeting turn out, Crystal?

(I see that in misread your first post and that ballots have been sent out--sorry)
CrystalK1


Posts:0


06/25/2012 7:34 PM  
I was (partially) mistaken that the purpose of the emergency executive session tonight was to discuss the validity of the ballots.

The purpose of the meeting tonight was so the President could ask the board for support in removing me immediately as Secretary and trustee. None of the reasons the President gave were valid or truthful. The President rose after about half an hour, said "I'm not hearing any support", and walked away.

During the half hour that the President was reading from a list of (imagined) offenses, he included that the ballots were improper and should all be destroyed.

Later in the evening the President e-mailed an agenda to the board. Under "President's Report" he includes "validity of ballots". I would think that if wants to challenge the validity of the ballots, he will need to give reasons.

Five out of six trustees approved the ballots that were mailed out two weeks ago. The sixth trustee, the President, did not respond to an e-mail asking for input on the draft ballot.

CarolR11


Posts:0


06/26/2012 9:23 AM  
Oooooo-must have been a shock to be blindsided like that, Crystal. But also comforting to know that your fellow trustees ignored his demands.

Does the Board in your HOA even have the authority to removed a trustee? In most HOA's that seems only possible if HOA members vote to recall one or more.

Usually boards do have the authority to remove officers. Only the board can adjourn a meeting, so even though the prez walked out, the rest of you could have continued to conduct business. This would have been a good opportunity to remove the president from office.
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