BLG's Monthly Newsletter - August 2015

Electronic Notices and Voting

by Candice J. Gundel, Esq.

 

The statutory provisions for condominium, cooperatives, and homeowners associations were amended this year to provide for voting and association notices to be conducted electronically.

An owner who consents to receive notices electronically may now be noticed for any board or annual meeting, except a meeting to recall a director, electronically.  The consent to electronic notice is valid until revoked by the owner.  The right to receive electronic notice is no longer required to be a part of the association’s governing documents.

An owner who chooses to vote in an election by written proxy may now transmit that proxy to the association by fax or any other electronic means which transmits a complete reproduction of the entire proxy. 

Owners who vote by proxy or electronically are counted as being in attendance for purposes of achieving a quorum.  When owners are voting electronically, the association is limited to voting on those issues specifically identified in the electronic voting system.  If a substantive vote is required on an additional item not previously noticed or identified in the electronic vote, then the owners voting electronically are not counted toward the quorum.

An association may now conduct elections and other membership votes electronically through an online voting system.  In order to hold an electronic vote, the board of directors shall pass a resolution adopting online voting and establish reasonable procedures to obtain consent or revocation of consent from the owners as well as procedures for conducting the electronic vote.  An owner wishing to participate in electronic voting must consent in writing and that consent is valid until revoked by the owner.

When engaged in electronic voting the association must provide: 1) a method to verify the owner’s identity to the electronic voting system; 2) a method to confirm that the owner is able to communicate successfully through the electronic voting system at least 14 days before the voting deadline; 3) electronic voting procedures that are consistent with the association’s governing documents.   

The electronic voting system that the association utilizes must: 1) be able to authenticate an owner’s identity; 2) authenticate each vote to ensure it is not altered; 3) provide a receipt to the owner who casts an electronic vote; 4) if the association requires a secret ballot then the electronic voting system must be able to separate an electronic vote from the identifying information of the owner; 5) store electronic ballots and allow for retrieval, recount, inspection, and review according to the association’s governing documents.