How To Make Sure That Proxies Are Counted Properly

The CCOC has received several questions in the past year about proxies with some skeptical whether they were correctly counted.

Under state law unit owners suspicious of ballots or proxies should request to examine these documents during the meeting.

In fact, unit owners can vote to have votes counted or monitored by persons of their choosing.  Usually, the chair appoints the vote counters (tellers).  However, a motion can be made to suspend this rule and use other vote counting methods.  It is worth trying if unit owners think the tellers are prejudiced.

Unit owners should immediately demand copies of all ballots or proxies right after the meeting if there are any suspicions of malfeasance. Under state law these documents must be kept for one year.

They should not wait.  With the one year limitation, all of these documents may be destroyed.   It would be important to bring a court action to obtain a court order that the records be retained as evidence before the one year expires.  Sometimes “irregular” ballots are counted for or against a candidate or issue.  Many of these ballots should be counted as ballots submitted but not as a proper vote for or against.

All demands should be in writing and copies given to the management company and all board members individually. Keep records that confirm receipt.  I have run into managers and officers who do not share such demands or deny receipt with other board members.  Also, demand a hearing on the demand under Section 47-278(d).  Failure of the board to have such a hearing is another cause of action for a law suit.

If the Association does not provide records, an action can be brought against the Association for violation of Section 47-260.

The unit owner suing may recover costs and attorneys’ fees if the Association is found to have violated that Section.  Any other issues can be included in the suit. Usually, boards violating this section have not kept proper minutes, given appropriate notices, or voted properly.   However, bringing a suit will cost money and I know of no one who is bringing such suits on a contingency basis.  Perhaps, the unit owners can group together and contribute funds.  Or, perhaps a group of Associations or unit owners could get together and establish a fund for bringing litigation.

In addition, the existence of the suit and allegations of wrong doing by board members can be used for the removal of the offending directors by the unit owners or the board members defeat in the next election.

Evidence is key.  Everything should be in writing.  Make demands in writing.  Get responses in writing.  E-mails are useful, especially if the e-mails go to all board members and the board members converse among themselves.  Please note that such correspondence does not have to be retained  by the Association under Section 47-260.  But if copies are kept, they can be examined or obtained through court discovery.  And, if enough board members are involved in the discussion, the discussion may constitute a meeting of the board members without appropriate notice.

Attorney Patricia A. Ayars of Glastonbury is a member of the Connecticut Condo Owners Coalition advisory committee.


2 Responses to How To Make Sure That Proxies Are Counted Properly

  1. William Ballot says:

    Great article on proxies. Always look forward to these emails

    • chris says:

      Great! I was told by our condo assoc president that all proxies were confidential! Well, guess what they are not! I did get the chance to see them. The Exec board had several meetings where the proxies were counted at a board meeting, with no unit members invited. I did get to see them and it was all legit. The question is what if it wasn’t ? then what do you do. What a headache owning a condo with upcoming projects in a small complex with no management and people who have very little experience dealing with contract, contractors and property management, budgeting money, etc….

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