Effective July 1, 2015, voting and the conduct of elections in resident owned communities in Florida may be done electronically. There are numerous conditions that must be met before a unit owner can vote electronically–not the least of which is that the unit or parcel owner must consent to that electronic voting.
Earlier this year, Florida’s legislators created three new statutes to provide for the use of an "Internet based online voting system":
- Florida Statute Section 718.128 for condominium associations
- Florida Statute Section 719.129 for cooperative associations
- Florida Statute Section 720.317 for mandatory homeowners’ associations
In addition, existing statutes were revised to allow electronic transmission of notices of most board meetings, membership meetings, and committee meetings even if the association’s bylaws don’t expressly allow for electronic transmission of these notices.
Moreover, Chapter 617 of the Florida Statutes, which governs not-for-profit corporations, was amended to provide that a copy, facsimile transmission, or other "reliable reproduction" of an original proxy can be used instead of the original proxy as long as that copy, fax, or reproduction is a "complete reproduction" of the original proxy–even if the association’s bylaws or articles of incorporation prohibit its use.
As you can imagine, there are more questions than answers raised by these new laws allowing for "online voting". I have a feeling that community association attorneys (as well as managers and board members) are going to have a very interesting "election season".