In the Condominium Act, it is very clear that only a unit’s owner can vote in election. That means that an election can’t be decided through the use of proxies (limited or general). There is an exception for associations with fewer than ten units who have voted to follow a different voting procedure. In such an instance, the procedure set forth in the by-laws would be followed and if proxy voting is permitted in elections then the condominium could do so.
The question which gets asked a lot is whether a person holding a power of attorney can vote in an election. The answer is no. The statute confirms that when an owner needs assistance in casting their election ballot they can get it. The key however is the definition of “need”. Going on vacation or delegating to an adult child, realtor or tenant for convenience simply is not the “need” required by the statute. The assistance needed must be due to blindness, disability or inability to read or write. In those circumstance the voter may request the help of a person of their choosing (e.g., family or friend) and they are not obligated to use an association employee, manager, or even a board member. The help provided is not voting for the person. On the contrary it is to facilitate the owner voting for themselves by reading the entirety of the ballot (instructions and candidate names as written) to them. The reader is not supposed to apply any tone or emphasis aimed at gaining a particular vote for one candidate over the other.
You may wonder where voting certificates factor in to the equation. Voting certificates are only required if the governing documents require them. For those that do they can impact units owned by spouses, multiple un-married persons, corporations, or any combination thereof. In such an instance, once the voting certificate is complete and turned in, should the designated voter require assistance, the same criteria noted above would apply.
Originally posted on floridacondohoalawblog.com. Written by Marilyn Perez-Martinez