Board Resource Guide: A Look at the Board Member Election Process Election Day Q&A

It is an annual rite of passage for owners of co-ops and condos. Once a year or thereabouts, they gather in a common area—in my co-op in Astoria it was the basement, right off the washers and dryers—and vote for next year’s board. Sometimes the elections are closely contested. Often, the same people stay on the board for decades. Sometimes—as was the case with my building—we owners were so desperate to not be on the board that we elected a president, who didn’t even live in the building.

Elections, therefore, are not necessarily as simple as they seem, especially in bigger, more populated buildings. There are many ins and outs, pros and cons. Let’s do a question-and-answer session, and shed some light on the subject:

Q: How often must a building hold a board election?

“Generally, the bylaws provide for annual elections,” says Ronald A. Sher, founding partner of the law firm of Himmelfarb & Sher in White Plains, and general counsel to the Council of Westchester Cooperatives & Condominiums. “The organizing documents provide for an annual meeting of shareholders. Included in that annual meeting will be the election of directors—either all or some.”

Q: Some? Why some?


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  • still looking for specific voting processes. Do absentee votes on propositions, etc remain closed (secret) until actual voting or are they opened in advance? How is secret ballot maintained?thank yo again for your fine articles.
  • Is there any situation where a board can waiver an annual election for a year, for example management has changed twice in one year. Thank you
  • In my condiminium in Nassau County, New York, the board has ruled that "New York State Law" requires that all Proxies MUST BE NOTORIZED by a Notary Public. In our last election they threw out all Proxies that are NOT notorized. Nowhere in our Condominium Bylaws does it state about Notorization. The board is now citing New York State Law. Does the Board's decision require an amendment to the Bylaws that is 67% vote? WHAT CAN I DO?
  • The Board of Directors of my Condo only sent Proxies to owners. I will not be able to attend and really do not trust anybody to vote for me at the meeting by sending in the proxy. I was told that ABSENTEE BALLOTS can only be sent out if the Board approves them. Is this true? Can the Managing company include the Absentee ballots automatically with the notice and proxy? it would be more democratic and people could vote directly. Also its a good way to get quorum
  • gls still looking for specific voting processes. Do absentee votes on propositions, etc remain closed (secret) until actual voting or are they opened in advance? How is secret ballot maintained?thank yo again for your fine articles. and who should control & open them
  • a proxy can be a relative , an annual election is an annual election no matter how many outside managing agents you hire in btwn the 12 months
  • Is the Board obligated to try to insure that a quorum is established and if not how many years can the current board stay in office because of the lack of a quorum at the annual meeting?
  • I understand that the proxy is sort of a power of attorney to the Board to have quorum to held an election. What I want to know is if the Board can also use that proxy as authorization to vote as they like.
  • Is it legal to have a primary election prior to the annual election?
  • There were 5 members on our Condominium Board. Now only three. Our By Laws state there must be four. What should/can be done to correct this? Is the current Board null and voided because there are only 3 Members?
  • Can blank proxies turned in to provide a quorum in a condo board of managers election automatically designate the current board president as the designated proxy, enabling him/her to provide more votes for his/her selected nominees?
  • what is the LAW and procedure for a recount in a Florida condo association?
  • Can a condo board vote to disqualify a candidate from running for election because they think he/she is not qualified?
  • A condo resident wants to run for election to the Board of Managers, but the cut-off date has already passed. The Board Secretary already sent out the election package stating that one candidate (the incumbent President) has submitted her Notice of Intent to run. The second person is the one who wants to now also submit a notice, but again AFTER the deadline date. Is this legal?
  • how do you run an election if there are five openings and only five people running?