Every condo, HOA and co-op community in the state of Florida has to elect a board of directors to maintain the operation and successful function of a community.
Board elections are governed by state statute, though each community decides how elections are conducted. This is a fundamental part of successful property management.
To begin with, how often must condos, HOAs or co-ops hold a board election? Attorney Eric Glazer, founding partner of the law firm of Glazer & Associates, P.A. in Fort Lauderdale, says that for all three types of communities, “Generally speaking, all elections much occur at the mandatory annual meeting of the owners. ‘Staggered terms’ are allowed, however, meaning that only some of the board positions are available because some spots were elected the previous year for a two-year term.”
Glazer says “Condominiums have a better election process than HOAs and co-ops here in Florida. In a condo, the association must mail a notice of the annual meeting at least 60 days before the election. Unit owners then have the opportunity to submit their name as a candidate. At least 14 days before the election, the association then sends out ballots to all the unit owners. These ballots are place in envelopes labeled Ballot Envelopes, but otherwise unmarked.” The ballot envelope is then placed in a larger envelope that the owner is required to sign and put their unit number. The envelopes are opened at the annual meeting after the signatures on the outer envelopes have been verified.
“Voting by proxy is not allowed,” Glazer continues. “A quorum of owners is not required. However, 20 percent of the owners must participate in the election for it to be valid.”
Regardless of whether your HOA uses “regular” or electronic voting, the law specifies how much notice has to be given. As we’ve mentioned, in condos, the first notice of an upcoming election must be mailed, emailed (if an electronic consent form has been received) or hand-delivered at least 60 days before the annual meeting and election. It could even be part of another form of communication, such as a newsletter.
In general, the way to avoid these problems is to inform all the unit owners of each step in the process, encourage their participation and abide by the laws and the governing documents. Whether the process used is by paper ballot, voting machine or the newfangled electronic voting, the object is the same—to ensure the well-being and smooth running of your community.