Condominium and Homeowner Association Elections

CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION ELECTIONS
Strict compliance with the rules and procedures set forth in Section 718.112(d) of the Florida Statutes and Section 61B-23.0021 of the Florida Administrative Code, as summarized below, is crucial in condominium elections.   Failure to comply with these procedural requirements could result in the association being required to conduct a new election, send an amended notice, or reschedule and re-notice the annual meeting and election, depending on when the error is caught.  
I.    Notice procedures.
A.    The first notice of the annual meeting and election must be mailed to each Member at the Member's address as it appears on the books of the Association, or may be furnished by personal delivery or by way of electronic transmission, not less than sixty (60) days before the scheduled election. 
1.    This notice will include the proper name and mailing address of the Association, the date, time, and place of the annual meeting and election, and information regarding the procedure for becoming a candidate for the Board.
2.    A form “Notice of Intent to Be a Candidate for the Board” shall be enclosed with the first notice.
B.    The second notice of the annual meeting and election will be mailed or delivered not less than fourteen (14) days and not more than thirty-four (34) days before the scheduled election.  This notice will include:
        1.    the agenda;
        2.    the ballot listing all candidates in alphabetical order;   
        3.    inner and outer envelopes – The outer envelope should be addressed to the Association or other person or entity authorized to receive the ballots, and provide a space for the name, lot address and signature of the voter.  The inner envelope should have no markings or information that would identify the voter.
         4.    any candidate information sheets.
II.    Procedure for establishing candidates.
A.    All eligible members who desire to be a candidate must be given an equal opportunity to run. 
B.    A member who desires to be a candidate for the Board must give the Association written notice of such intent at least forty (40) days prior to the election in order to have his or her name placed on the ballot which is mailed with the second notice of annual meeting.  The “Notice of Intent to Be a Candidate for the Board” form may be used for this purpose.
1.    Upon receipt by the Association of any timely submitted written notice that an eligible person desires to be a candidate for the Board, the Association will issue a written receipt acknowledging delivery of the written notice. 
2.    Prospective candidates may, if they wish, submit an information sheet to the Association at least thirty-five (35) days prior to the election.  This sheet may describe the candidate's background, education, and qualifications as well as other factors deemed relevant by the candidate.  However, it cannot exceed one (1) side of an 8 ½ inch by 11 inch sheet of paper. 
3.    All prospective candidates that give proper notice will be included on the ballot and all information sheets that are timely submitted to the Association will be distributed with the second notice.
III.    Procedure for casting votes.
A.    The election shall be conducted by secret ballot
B.    The ballot shall not contain a space for signatures or other means of identification.
C.    All ballots (of an equal voting interest) must be uniform in color and appearance.
D.    No proxy voting is allowed.   
E.    Voting by mail prior to the annual meeting:  If the Member wishes to vote prior to the meeting, he or she should complete the ballot and seal it in the smaller, inner envelope.  Each inner envelope can contain only one ballot.  If the Member is entitled to more than one vote, each ballot should be sealed in a separate inner envelope.  All inner envelopes should then be placed in a single larger, outer envelope.  The Member must then seal the outer envelope and sign in the space provided.  The envelope should then either be mailed or hand delivered to the Association.  Upon receipt by the Association, no ballot may be rescinded or changed.
F.    Voting at the annual meeting:  At the meeting, the Association will have available blank ballots for distribution to the Members who have not previously cast their votes. Each ballot distributed at the meeting may be placed in an inner and outer envelope in the same manner as votes cast prior to the meeting, or in a ballot box.
G.    Any voter who requires assistance to vote by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write, may request the assistance of a member of the board of administration or other unit owner to assist in casting his vote.
IV.    Procedure for collecting and counting votes.
A.    Any envelopes containing ballots collected by the Association prior to the meeting will be transported to the location of the annual meeting and election.
B.    After all ballots are collected, they shall be handled as follows by an impartial committee appointed by the Board:
1.    The signature and lot identification on the outer envelope must be checked against a list of qualified voters.  Any exterior envelope not signed by the eligible voter should be marked "Disregarded" or like language, and any ballots contained therein cannot be counted.   However, the voter shall be checked off on the list as having voted.  The business of the meeting may continue during this process.
a.    The Association may verify outer envelope information in advance of the meeting if done by an impartial committee designated by the board, at a meeting noticed in the manner required for the noticing of board meetings. 
b.    For purposes of this rule, “impartial” shall mean a committee whose members do not include any of the following or their spouses:
1. Current board members;
2. Officers; and
3. Candidates for the board.
2.    Following verification, the polls must be closed and no more ballots may be accepted. 
3.    In the presence of any owners in attendance, all inner envelopes should be removed from the outer envelopes and placed in a receptacle. The inner envelopes may then be removed from the receptacle, opened and the ballots removed.  The ballots will be counted in the presence of the owners in attendance. Any inner envelope containing more than one ballot shall be marked "Disregarded", or with like language, and those ballots cannot be counted.
C.    The election is decided by a plurality of the votes cast.  There is no quorum requirement, but at least twenty percent (20%) of the eligible voters must cast a ballot for the election to be valid.

HOMEOWNER'S ASSOCIATION ELECTIONS
The statutory requirements are very different.  Elections are conducted in accordance with the association's documents and members have a right to nominate themselves from the floor.