I belong to a homeowners
in New York State. Proxy voting was allowed for the first time, last year.
Yesterday I requested, and managed to obtain, the board-produced proxy ballot for this year. The board's secretary, who provided the form upon my request, told me in no uncertain terms that everyone who votes by proxy this year MUST use this form in order for the board to be accountable for the proxies. Proxies are sent only upon request, and when they are sent, the owner's name is XXXXX XXXXX on the proxy.
In part, it says "I, ........residing at.....NY...am a member........... Since I am unable to be present at the annual meeting ............, I grant the right to present my vote to............who is also a member......and who resides at .....................
Further, I declare that I wish my vote to be made as follows:"
The rest of the proxy is the ballot, and contains a vote on the budget, vote on a proposal to improve the playground, a vote to change the assessment collection process (which is actually a change to the Declaration, but that doesn't seem to matter), and for the election of four board members.
Below the ballot, "This right of proxy is granted only for the items listed above and is valid only for the votes taking place at the annual meeting on June 15, 2013."
At the end, a requirement for the proxy to be notarized.
I think this is an absentee ballot. If people are nominated for the board from the floor, which they historically are because the board does not seek people to run even if there are unfilled positions (there are 2 this year), the proxy carrier has no decision-making option. Further, this ballot deprives the proxy giver of the right to a secret ballot.
The bylaws say "Members unable to attend a meeting at which Directors of the Association are to be elected shall be entitled to file an absentee ballot if so provided by the Board of Directors, or may vote by a proxy which shall be in writing and shall be filed with the Secretary of the Association."
In April 2012, the board's lawyer wrote, "The Board will have clear guidelines and will promulgate an official proxy form to be posted on the HLPA website:
a. the proxies will claearly identify the owner and his/her address within the development
b. the proxy will require a notary public as witness
c. the proxy may be delivered by any reasoable means to the Board shall elect to receive, including electronic transmission
d. timing for proxy delivery shall include any time right up to the place and time of the meeting
e. all proxies are subject to subsequent verification by the Board and/or the counters, even after the date of the meeting, as circumstances may require-only the Board, or 10% of the total membership, may call for verification
f. the proxy is assignable to any agent the owner wishes to designate
g. the proxy may be general or limited, in accordance with the specific wishes of the owner, and the Bylaws of the HLPA."
In my opinion, the board is not complying with what its Bylaws or its lawyer specify. And, by the form itself, it has not even produced a proxy ballot.