Your association recently had its annual meeting and 2 board positions were up for election. Out of 200 members, 10 were in attendance at the meeting, and an additional 10 submitted a proxy for their vote. There were a total of 20 votes out of a possible 200, or ten percent. Was apathy or inconvenience to blame for the lack of member participation?
The use of all forms of e-communication is rapidly increasing on a daily basis. We routinely maintain friendships via computer, order movie tickets via the internet, and buy everything from shoes to cars online. Recent estimates show approximately 175 million internet users in the United States. Convenience ranks as one of the greatest benefits of conducting our personal and business affairs via computer.
So why not make it more convenient for association members to vote by offering online voting? If your association already maintains and makes frequent use of a website for disseminating and gathering information, offering online voting is not that far of a leap. There are, however, certain matters that must be taken into consideration:
Be certain to have your attorney review your association's governing documents and applicable state law to determine your required election procedures;
Be sure that by offering online voting, your association is expanding the options available to owners, and not narrowing them. Always have equally convenient "paper" voting options available for those who are not comfortable voting online or have no computer access;
Consider making a computer temporarily available for online voting in the community clubhouse or recreation center;
Make technical assistance available to any owners who have questions about online voting or who have trouble with the process;
Advertise early and often through the association's website, blast e-mails, newsletters and direct mailings that online voting will be available for the upcoming election;
Outline election voting procedures prior to consulting with vendor(s) regarding online voting so that they have the proper specifications;
Have your attorney review the process once online voting is up and running in order verify that your association's procedures for things such as secret balloting and ballot counting are being complied with.
For more information regarding online voting, please feel free to contact HindmanSanchez, P.C., or browse the following additional resources:
Votenet Solutions (online voting software)
eBallot (online voting software)
Community Association Management Guide (published by the VendomeGroup)
Big Pulse (online voting software)