One of the goals of a condominium association’s annual election is to provide the members with the opportunity to select new individuals to serve on the board of directors. There are numerous requirements that must be met before this can happen.
A first notice of annual meeting and election is sent out 60 days before the meeting and election. Candidates must submit their notices of candidacy at least 40 days before the election, and, if they so desire, their candidate information sheets at least 35 days prior. Then, a second notice of annual meeting and election is sent out not less than 14 days before.
According to Joshua Krut, a partner with Weiss Serota Helman Pastorica Cole & Boniske, the balloting process is highly regulated. “Ballots are placed in an inner envelope, which is then placed in an outer envelope that –among other requirements – is to be signed by the unit owner and list the unit number. This complexity can be amplified by the fact that so many owners in Aventura live abroad – oftentimes two weeks is not sufficient time to return their ballots,” said Krut. Nevertheless, condominium law does not provide for an absentee ballot process. “If the ballots are not cast and counted by a specific date, owners have lost their right to vote,” he added.
All ballots are verified by checking the outer envelopes against the association’s unit owner roster to determine that only those who have the right to vote are voting. Next, the outer envelopes are opened and put aside to preserve the privacy of the voters. Then, the inner envelopes are opened and the votes are counted.
Eligibility to serve on a condominium association’s board of directors is governed by a myriad of rules and regulations, including the Florida Condominium Act and the association’s governing documents. Interestingly, some documents require that directors be unit owners within the association while other documents do not. Thus, in some communities, your neighbor in the building down the street has the right to serve on your board of directors.
Condominium Association elections are a highly technical process. Associations should be sure to consult legal and management professionals before preparing their annual meeting notices this year.
Joshua Krut is a Partner at Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Boniske, P.L., where he serves as Chairperson of the Community Association, Club & Resort Practice Group. The Firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale and Coral Gables and Mr. Krut can be reached at 954.763.4242 or firstname.lastname@example.org