Also, a unit owner attended the meeting and another unit owner (board member) submitted that unit owner’s proxy. Should these proxies have been allowed in the vote?
“Before I address your specific questions, I would like to address the word “proxy.” A proxy form is not an absentee ballot. The appointment of a proxy is not the appointment of someone to speak for a unit owner at a meeting. Technically speaking, a proxy is a unit owner’s appointment of an agent to cast his vote in an election and nothing more. Proxies can be either discretionary or directed. A discretionary proxy means that the person holding the proxy can cast the unit owner’s vote however he sees fit. A directed proxy means that the unit owner has identified how he wants his vote cast at the meeting, and at the meeting, that unit owner’s vote must be cast as specified. Whether a proxy is limited or discretionary should be explicitly stated on the proxy form. Before distributing proxy forms, a condominium should review its documents as well as the laws of the jurisdiction to be certain that the use of proxies is authorized, and that all requirements are complied with.
“A deadline should be established for the delivery of proxies to the condominium or its managing agent prior to the meeting. Proxies are reviewed prior to the start of the meeting by whoever is running the meeting, (e.g. the management company). To ease the determination of proxy validity, only the form of proxy distributed by the condominium prior to the meeting should be accepted. Some condominiums distribute proxies with the notice of meeting by mail, along with a return envelope. Notarization can be required. Other steps can be taken to assist in the determination of proxy validity, such as using colored proxy cards and maintaining signature cards for unit owners. On the other hand, the more complicated the proxy process is, t he less likely it is that unit owners will submit proxies, rendering it less likely that a quorum will be achieved. As technology has evolved, so has the distribution and collection of proxies. Some condominiums distribute meeting notices and proxy forms by email to save on mailing costs. This places a greater burden on management to determine the authenticity of proxies. I have seen faxed proxy forms accepted from unit owners in smaller condominiums. While fax and email proxies make it easier for a unit owner to participate, they make it more difficult to determine authenticity where that is a concern.
“With regard to your condominium’s managing agent giving a board member the proxy form before everyone else, and then having many proxies in hand for the meeting, all proxies ought to be distributed at once to avoid any appearance of impropriety. While a sitting board member surely has the right to campaign for proxies just as any other unit owner running for election would, a board member sitting for re-election should not appear to be given an advantage over others running for election.
“With regard to a unit owner who had appointed someone else as his proxy, that unit owner may attend the meeting along with his appointed proxy. Unless the unit owner revoked his proxy, the appointed proxy should be allowed to vote on behalf of, but not in addition to, the unit owner.”