Since our last blog post on electronic voting, we have attended a few turnover meetings and owners meetings that have adopted electronic voting. Condominium developers are now starting to use electronic voting for turnover meetings simply by adding the authority to vote electronically in the General Operating By-law that is registered prior to the turnover meeting. Condominium corporations that are now doing electronic voting have taken the initial step of passing an electronic voting by-law by obtaining a majority vote at a meeting prior to the annual general meeting.
There is still a bit of confusion about the difference between on-line proxy voting and electronic voting since both these processes involve emails to owners. Managers and boards who are now realizing though, that using the electronic voting method is a way to streamline meetings, get more participation by owners and no longer require proxies in the voting process.
Electronic voting means that no proxies need to be sent by management to owners and no proxies need to be printed out prior to the meeting. Registration is done simply by printing out the electronic voting record and registering those unit owners attending the meeting. On-line proxy voting, on the other hand, requires that proxies be printed, reviewed and registered prior to the meeting.
Here are some important points about the new electronic voting process:
- Notice of meeting packages should be amended to remove reference to proxies and proxy instructions and adding simple wording to advise owners that voting will be done electronically.
- Once the notices of meeting are sent, electronic voting begins and emails are sent to owners where they click on the ballot and vote. So simple.
- Owners do not need to consent to receiving these emails, but can opt out of receiving voting emails if they choose to.
- The transition from proxy to electronic voting, will require communication between management, the board and owners so that owners understand that once they vote, it has the same effect as voting by written ballot. It is not a proxy that can be withdrawn (although in certain instances, there is a mechanism to do so). If owners intend to go to the meeting, then they may not want to vote electronically but still may do so and also attend the meeting.
- Voting electronically can be done up to the point that the board/management chooses to close the vote. Usually it is closed the morning of the meeting, but it could be held open as long as the board/management wants.
- Every electronic vote counts towards quorum and that is why this works so well. The recent meetings that we attended resulted in quorum being reached well ahead of the meeting date and within days of the notice of meeting being sent. What is interesting to see is the increased numbers of owners participating because of the ease of voting electronically- no complicated proxy form!
- Voting is done on the basis of one vote per unit which means one email per unit. It is up to the management/board to ensure that the owner records indicate which email is the one that the unit owner wants to use for electronic voting.
- Once a unit owner votes, that owner will no longer receive a further email, just a confirmation receipt. Reminders to vote are sent continually to owners that do not respond, until the unit owner either votes or opts out.
For all condominium corporations and condominium developers struggling to get quorum for a turnover meeting or an annual general meeting, for managers that are frustrated over the proxy process and not being able to solicit proxies, for owners who want to vote for themselves but cannot attend a meeting, for boards of directors that are trying to get by-laws in place but cannot get the required vote: electronic voting is the answer.
For more information tune into CondoVoter’s monthly webinar on Wednesday, November 7th at 10:00 am. Click here for details. For more information about the Electronic Voting Process, click here to download our guide.