- April 11, 2023
- Posted by: @dmin
- Category: Uncategorized
Condo voting rules are designed to make the process of condo management as transparent as possible, putting power in the hands of the people most affected by the rules.
However, condo board voting procedures tend to be set in stone for a very good reason: the rules are supposed to facilitate transparency and fairness. Does that mean that there’s no room for condo electronic voting, or that electronic voting for condo associations is risky? Not at all.
Here’s the reality: according to Ontario Government and Consumer Services, there are over 11,000 condo corporations across the entire province of Ontario and over a million condo units. That’s a lot of units and plenty of condominium corporations. What’s the right approach?
Condo Electronic Voting Is Not Seamless
One of the first points to make here is that condo voting rules can allow for electronic voting, but that doesn’t mean that electronic voting for condo associations is seamless.
Think about it from this perspective: allowing owners to forgo the usual decision to attend the meeting creates an environment where they must trust an online voting system instead.
Not every condo corporation is set up for a seamless shift to using online voting software. The cost of this software has to be taken into account.
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Typically speaking, owners are allowed to fill out a proxy form instead of showing up to vote. This system has worked well for many annual general meetings, but in some cases, electronic voting would help ensure that everyone may be included in the process.
The Pitfalls of Modifying Condo Board Voting Procedures
One of the greatest concerns that condo boards should understand when they’re attempting to examine the process of online election is that it can make it harder for certain populations to make their voices heard.
Seniors tend to flag other groups in terms of embracing technology. The system of voting in person or by proxy has worked so long because it does not use technology as a barrier.
Voting is a critical part of handling a condo corporation properly. In fact, it impacts everything from reaching a quorum all the way up to deciding on the board of directors. Whether the topic is the reserve fund study, condominium corporations, or condominium management, voting still plays a distinct role in the future of the condo units as a whole.
The tricky part here is that the Condominium Act of 1998 does not fully specify the type of voting allowed. But amendments to the Condo Act have opened the door for condo electronic voting, a critical update to condo voting rules for sure.
Credit: Vladyslava Andriyenko
Keeping Online Election an Accessible Practice
When change is necessary, the rubber can meet the proverbial road in some difficult ways. Indeed, the governing documents of the condo corporation will need an update to allow for the online voting system.
In addition, each board member will need to be given space to give their opinion on the change.
The Confidentiality Problem With Electronic Voting
The move to electronic voting holds inherent risks that need to be addressed. For starters, it is possible with some online voting systems to see the results as they come in, right down to the person that voted for the change.
This is a breach of confidentiality. Software must be customized in order to make the voting process as secure as possible.
In addition, condo managers will need to ensure that they are protecting this information to avoid any board member seeing adverse results against a decision and deciding to retaliate. These are gaps in the Condo Act and amendments that have deep consequences in the future for the condo corporation.
The Real Impact of Changing Condo Voting Rules
As you can imagine, this makes a condo manager’s job more challenging as the pieces can get complicated very quickly. In a perfect system, everyone is in agreement and everything will simply move seamlessly to the new electronic world.
Yet any long-time condo manager will be quick to admit that things rarely go that smoothly in the world of managing condominium operations.
Confidently Navigate Electronic Voting and More with ICC Property Management
It’s not impossible to implement fair electronic voting options that ensure everyone gets to participate without putting up barriers.
However, the cost of making these changes, coupled with the additional training necessary to truly make it a win-win situation for all parties involved is much higher than it seems.
It is wiser to leave these concerns to a professional property management firm that is not just well versed with the Condo Act, but also with the ongoing security and fairness issues inherent to electronic voting in the world of condo management.
Featured Photo Credit: Christian Stahl