Proxies and Limited Proxies
In condominiums and cooperatives, general proxies are used for establishment of a quorum and limited proxies are used to vote on a particular matter – amendments, waive reserves or financial reporting requirements, etc. It is only in homeowners associations when proxies may also be used for elections. Proxies and limited proxies are not secret. When returned in an envelope to the association, they can be opened in advance of the meeting. They should be opened in advance of the meeting and placed in unit order (whether numerical for a condominium or cooperative or by street address in a homeowners’ association). This allows you to keep a running tally of whatever is being voted on, ensure you are using the most recent proxy submitted, and saves time at the actual meeting. By keeping a running tally of the vote, the only proxies that have to be tallied at the actual meeting are those turned in at the meeting. Depending on the number of units in your association and the question or questions being voted on, this can save an enormous amount of time at the actual meeting.
Keep in mind that owners can always rescind or change their limited proxy, and the most recent one submitted controls. This is different from an election ballot in a condominium and cooperative, which cannot be rescinded or changed once submitted.
The same concept as above applies to voting certificates. When owners are returning voting certificates, whether for an annual / election meeting or any other meeting, open the voting certificates and file them before the meeting. If your association requires voting certificates, the association should maintain a book of voting certificates, in alphabetical or numerical or address order, for ease of use at the membership meetings. The most recent voting certificate will always control.
In condominiums and cooperatives, owners are required to submit their election ballots in an inner and outer envelope. The owner envelope has to have the owner’s name, address and signature. While some associations keep the submitted ballots in a locked ballot box until the election meeting is called to order, there is nothing in the law that requires this.
Documents for an Annual / Election Meeting
When preparing for an annual / election meeting, you should always have at the meeting:
- Sign in roster
- Unit roster by last name
- Unit roster by unit/address
- Voting certificate book (if your community uses voting certificates)
- Meeting notice
- Proof of meeting notice
- Minutes from last membership meeting
- Tally sheet(s), whether for an election, to vote on a matter, etc.
- Letter openers
- Empty bankers’ box for all the meeting documents required to be kept
- Extra ballots and envelopes (for an election) and ballots and limited proxies for other matters being voted on
- Designated person(s) for owner sign in
I cannot tell you how many times meetings have been delayed, sometimes significantly, because of a lack of some, or most of, the items listed above being prepared before the meeting.
Verify Outer Envelopes Before Annual / Election Meeting
This can be a real time saver of at least an hour, if not hours, at a condominium or cooperative annual / election meeting. Both the condominium and cooperative statutes allow an association to have a meeting on the day of the election, before the election meeting, to verify the information on the outer envelopes. This means that by following the required procedures, the ballot outer envelope information can be verified before the annual / election meeting.. The Florida Administrative Code has very specific requirements regarding who may be on the impartial committee who inspects the outer ballot envelopes and what their responsibilities are. If you are having your annual meeting and require assistance with the issues discussed above, please contact your community association attorney.
Note that this type of meeting must be noticed at least 48 hours in advance like a board meeting.