Over the past few months many condo development lawyers have incorporated electronic voting wording into the General Operating By-law for newly registered condominium corporations in order for electronic voting to be used for the first owners meeting- the Turnover meeting. The reason- ensuring that quorum is reached without having to collect proxies.
Managers that are dealing with turnover meetings, will now have the benefit of starting off with their first owners meeting without having to deal with the proxy form either before the meeting date or at the registration desk. Once the unit owners see how easy the first electronic vote is, they will be no longer feel the need to complete a complicated proxy form (either on line or paper). Owners will now vote for themselves from their cell phone, tablet or personal computer anytime- anywhere.
As most owners email addresses are collected at the time of final closing and since email consent is not required for electronic voting, owners are able to cast their vote for their first owner-elected board of directors from an email sent by the electronic voting provider. The link in the email will produce a ballot and the owner votes by clicking the options on the ballot. Our experience to date has shown us that owners who may not be inclined to complete a proxy, are now voting electronically resulting in quorum being exceeded with numbers in the range of 50-60 percent participation- a shock to most managers. This new process is producing more owner participation and bringing many smiles to the faces of managers who have struggled in the past with trying to get quorum for meetings
One of the other benefits of doing electronic voting is that the electronic ballot can also collect unit owner consents to receive Notices of Meeting by email- this consent is required for Notices (not for electronic voting) and once obtained, no more mailings will be required.
It is often a challenge, as we know, to get owners out to a meeting. It is even more challenging to get owners out to a turnover meeting, where many unit owners may be offsite unit owners. What we are finding is that with electronic voting, those offsite owners are now voting because the process is simple, easy to complete and takes less than a minute to vote.
Some of the common questions posed at these meetings are:
- Can an owner change their vote if they voted electronically- NO! Electronic voting is not proxy voting, it is a ballot. Similar to voting at a political election, once cast, that is it. So if an owner wants to consider voting for candidates from the floor, they should come to the meeting and vote at the meeting.
- Can an owner rank the directors i.e. first, second and third choices? NO. This is not proxy voting, it is a ballot similar to a ballot that is completed at the meeting. One director choice for one position.
- Can an owner attend the meeting if they voted electronically? – Yes, but they cannot vote since they already voted for the items that were listed on the ballot.
- Does the electronic vote count towards quorum? Of course, it is a “ballot”.
- How is the owner-occupant director’s position vote handled? If this is a turnover meeting for a residential condominium, then one position will be for the owner-occupant director. Owners who are owner-occupants will have two ballots to complete by email.
Where can you learn more about Electronic Voting?
On February 7th, 2019, CAI Canada is holding is first annual conference in Toronto. This all day conference is free for condo managers and directors. Learn more about Electronic Voting at the second session of the day “Condo Corporation Voting; Evolving Trends & New Technology”. Click here to find out more and register by email to email@example.com.
Also visit condovoter.com and view a monthly webinar. The 2019 schedule will be out soon.