HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION EDUCATION
BOARD ELECTIONS -- July 1, 2010
The election procedure in homeowners' associations is by far not as well regulated as in condominiums. That is definitely the reason why we hear so many complaints from owners about crooked elections, compared with elections in Banana Republics. Chapter 720.306 creates some sort of election procedure, but since the statutes are very vague, the problems in associations are increasing.
We hear endless complaints that HOAs utilize nominating committees to disenfranchise possible candidates. Boards will see to it that only party-line candidates will be on the ballot mailed out to the membership, more or less circumventing the provision that "a member may nominate himself or herself as a candidate for the board at a meeting where the election is to be held." [FS 720.306(9)]
Chapter 720 allows PROXY VOTING. It is obvious that the legislature meant a General Florida Proxy (See Example). If legislators had intended to use limited proxies, limited ballots -- or even ballots -- they surely would have said so, especially since the use of these limited forms eliminates the provision of candidate nomination from the floor. (Careful: Some sneaky boards and managers claim that the proxy forms they send out just serve the purpose to achieve the needed quorum. Make sure that the proxy form you sign SPECIFICALLY SAYS SO!)
The changes made in 2010 were a step in the right
direction, but it's the typically incomplete job our
Because of the vague wording of the statutes we are not seeing many election arbitrations. Even if elections are often skewed, owners are careful not to challenge elections because of possible high cost!
FAIR ELECTIONS IN HOAs?
Not with these provisions!
In 2004 the Florida Legislature added mandatory election arbitration conducted by the DBPR to chapter 720 [FS 720.311(1)].
REAL REFORM OF ELECTION PROCEDURES IS A MAIN PRIORITY FOR CHAPTER 720!
MANDATORY BINDING ARBITRATION FORM PETITION--ELECTION DISPUTE (PDF)
ELECTION ARBITRATION RULINGS
(2) ANNUAL MEETING.--The association shall hold a meeting of its members annually for the transaction of any and all proper business at a time, date, and place stated in, or fixed in accordance with, the bylaws. The election of directors, if one is required to be held, must be held at, or in conjunction with, the annual meeting or as provided in the governing documents.
(5) NOTICE OF MEETINGS.--The bylaws shall provide for giving notice to members of all member meetings, and if they do not do so shall be deemed to provide the following: The association shall give all parcel owners and members actual notice of all membership meetings, which shall be mailed, delivered, or electronically transmitted to the members not less than 14 days prior to the meeting. Evidence of compliance with this 14-day notice shall be made by an affidavit executed by the person providing the notice and filed upon execution among the official records of the association. In addition to mailing, delivering, or electronically transmitting the notice of any meeting, the association may, by reasonable rule, adopt a procedure for conspicuously posting and repeatedly broadcasting the notice and the agenda on a closed-circuit cable television system serving the association. When broadcast notice is provided, the notice and agenda must be broadcast in a manner and for a sufficient continuous length of time so as to allow an average reader to observe the notice and read and comprehend the entire content of the notice and the agenda.
VOTING.-- The members have the right, unless otherwise
provided in this subsection or in the governing documents, to vote in
person or by proxy.
(9) ELECTIONS AND BOARD VACANCIES. — Elections of directors must be conducted in accordance with the procedures set forth in the governing documents of the association. All members of the association are eligible to serve on the board of directors, and a member may nominate himself or herself as a candidate for the board at a meeting where the election is to be held or, if the election process allows voting by absentee ballot, in advance of the balloting. Except as otherwise provided in the governing documents, boards of directors must be elected by a plurality of the votes cast by eligible voters. Any election dispute between a member and an association must be submitted to mandatory binding arbitration with the division. Such proceedings must be conducted in the manner provided by s. 718.1255 and the procedural rules adopted by the division. Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, any vacancy occurring on the board before the expiration of a term may be filled by an affirmative vote of the majority of the remaining directors, even if the remaining directors constitute less than a quorum, or by the sole remaining director. In the alternative, a board may hold an election to fill the vacancy, in which case the election procedures must conform to the requirements of the governing documents. Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, a board member appointed or elected under this section is appointed for the unexpired term of the seat being filled. Filling vacancies created by recall is governed by s. 720.303(10) and rules adopted by the division.
ALL PERSONS BY THESE PRESENT:
undersigned owners, or their voting representative, of
_____________________ in Name of Association, hereby constitute and appoint the secretary of the association, his designee, or _____________________________, as nominee, and proxy with powers of substitution for and in the name and place of the undersigned, to appear, represent, and cast votes only as I specifically instruct in reference to the following matters to come before the NAME OF ASSOCIATION, Inc., Annual/Special Meeting to be held on DATE, at TIME, at Place with address.
here) _____ I hereby authorize and instruct my proxy to use his best
judgment on all matters which properly come before the meeting as may be
authorized by Section 720.306(6), Florida Statutes.
undersigned ratify and confirm any and all acts and things that the
proxy may do or cause to
done in the premises, whether at the meeting referred to above or at any
change, adjournment, or continuation and revoke all prior proxies
UNIT OWNER SIGNATURE
If you will be unable to attend this meeting, please complete and return
this Proxy Form to Office or have Proxy Holder bring it to the Annual/Special
The undersigned, appointed as proxy above, does hereby
designate___________________ to substitute for me in the proxy set forth
no event shall this proxy be valid for a period of longer than 90 days
after the date of the first meeting for which it was given.)
BLUE: If not filled out with name, the secretary of the board will be the proxy holder!
RED: Needs to be filled out before use!
JUST COPY AND PASTE INTO WORD!