Most of the time difficult situations that arise during a meeting can be resolved on the spot, but occasionally, “fatal flaws” arise: those few errors or situations that arise that cannot be fixed at that meeting.
How many times have you tried to hold an official meeting of the members of your community association, only to find that not enough homeowners came to the meeting or sent in their proxies to meet the quorum requirement to conduct a legally held meeting? More often than not, the bylaws of the community don’t provide for alternatives if a quorum is not attained, so you’re faced with calling another meeting and perhaps yet another one still — in a desperate attempt to elect board members and ratify decisions made at previous meetings where a quorum also was not reached. On the other hand, perhaps your legal counsel has advised that as long as you’ve made the attempt at calling the meeting and complied with notice requirements, you should continue with the agenda except for any issues requiring a vote and try again next year for a quorum.
Door Prizes, Proxies Are Used to Boost Annual Elections
While the election format in a condominium community is pretty much the same as for any other club or organization, property managers and board members are looking to make the process easier and increase unit owner participation. Unit owner participation, in particular, can be a challenge as some condos find it hard to get enough members for a quorum at their annual meetings.
To combat low attendance, some community associations are using raffles, or offering prizes –drawing names from returned ballots at the annual meeting, or combining the meeting with a cookout or other social event. Other communities with low attendance are trying to increase proxy voting. And the use of online voting is definitely trending upward as more business is conducted by computer.
The Wisconsin Democrats employed a clever technique (denying a quorum) to prevent their legislature from adopting an anti-labor law. The Wisconsin Republicans responded with their own smart bag of tricks; they reframed the law to eliminate the quorum requirement and got it passed without the Democrats participating. Can this sort of politicking be used in the context of homeowner association votes? You bet. Read on….
Generally, action cannot be taken by official bodies – like a homeowner association non-profit mutual benefit corporation or its board of directors– unless a quorum of its members participates in the meeting or vote at which the action is proposed.