Q&A: Election Battles

Q. The last presidential contest may have rocked the nation, but it seemed tame compared to some of the elections we’ve had at our association. It seems every election is contentious, and sometimes they get downright nasty. Opposing “camps” end up hurling accusations about improper counting of ballots. Is there a good rule about how ballots should be counted, and how an association should handle recounts? It’s hard to get a collegial board after a tumultuous election, especially if everyone doesn’t agree about the results.

                               — Battle-Weary Owner

A. “At present, neither the Massachusetts nor the New Hampshire condominium statutes provide specific direction on the issue of the procedure for counting ballots,” says Gary M. Daddario, a partner at the law firm of  Winer & Bennett, LLP, with offices in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts and Nashua, New Hampshire.  “Condominium documents do not tend to address this either.  As an informal rule, I routinely advise associations to have the ballots counted at a table by the property manager and the association’s attorney.  

“In addition, we invite any candidates wishing to oversee the ballot count to stand behind the property manager and the attorney and to, literally, look over their shoulders.  Finally, depending on the number of people standing at the “counting” table, I typically recommend inviting one or two random volunteers from the community to also stand to oversee the counting of the ballots.”    

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