As of November 2017, the Amendments to the Condominium Act allow condominium corporations to permit owner voting by “telephonic or electronic means.” To do this, an Electronic Voting by-law is required.
How is this Different?
While some condominium corporations are experimenting with “online proxies”, these kinds of systems are not the same as electronic voting. Online proxies use email to distribute and collect proxies from owners. While arguably an improvement on traditional hardcopy proxies, online proxies retain many of the same challenges that limit the effectiveness of traditional proxies and ultimately discourage owners from participating in the voting process. In contrast, electronic voting permits each individual unit owner to vote on-line using a secure web-based platform either at a time and place of their choosing or at the owners meeting itself. The votes are tabulated securely by an independent third party, eliminating the need for scrutineers, paper ballots and ballot storage. Most importantly, electronic voting dispenses with the need for proxies by providing a simple, effective means for all unit owners to participate in the voting process. Gone is the need to navigate the headaches of drafting, distributing, collecting and managing a proxy process. The time consuming and often contentious proxy battles that have historically plagued many owner meetings and frequently left divided condominium communities in their wake can be relegated to the past. (If an owner chooses to vote by proxy, they are entitled to and can obtain the proxy form from the Ministry website, but there is no obligation for the condominium corporation to provide the proxy form. Voting electronically eliminates the need for (and confusion relating to) proxies.
How Does Electronic Voting Work?
The process is very easy and efficient. An owner receives an email containing a link to the voting site, and then submits their choices – no proxies needed. The voting website is secure, anonymous and ensures only one vote per owner.
What is Special about the Electronic Voting By-law?
Once an Electronic Voting By-law has been put into place, a condominium corporations will no longer need to use proxies, whether traditional or electronic. In order to put an Electronic Voting By-law in place, a condominium corporation only needs to secure a majority vote of those units represented in person or by proxy at an owners meeting, as long as there is a quorum (25%). For example, if the corporation has 100 units, the quorum for the meeting would be 25 units (25%) and the by-law will pass with 13 units voting in favor of the by-law- very achievable at minimal expense.
We recommend that all condominium corporations pass an Electronic Voting Bylaw to initiate the process for Electronic Voting.
A form of by-law that has been developed for this purpose is available through CondoVoter.com, however, the by-law should be reviewed with your Corporation’s legal counsel.
The opportunity is now to start putting the system in place to get owners to vote for themselves and participate in meetings. No more proxy issues. It’s time to make life easier for managers, board members, and owners.
If you would like additional information about Electronic Voting, visit CondoVoter.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org