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".

Our first set of ROC seminars for the 2009-2010 "season" have been scheduled.   We’ll discuss how the new "Red Flag" identity protection rules will affect resident owned communities, cover election procedures and the differences between ballots and proxies, provide some updates on developments in the Fair Housing area and recent court cases and highlight proposed legislation that may impact community associations.   In addition to that rather full agenda, as always, we’ll devote some time to an "open forum" for questions from our attendees. 

The seminars are scheduled as follows:

  • Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at the Molokai community in Leesburg.
  • Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at Sandalwood Park in Venice.
  • Thursday, December 3, 2009 at Old Bridge Village in North Fort Myers.
  • Thursday, December 10, 2009 at Westwinds Village in Bradenton.

The seminars start at 10 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m. and all of the seminars will be held in the clubhouse at each of these communities.  We plan on covering the same topics at each of these locations so you can choose the date and location that’s most convenient.

While the seminars are free of charge to all attendees, because we do serve refreshments and want to make sure that there is enough seating and space for everyone,  please notify us in advance if you wish to attend.   Also, please note that the seminar at Molokai is being held in conjunction with the monthly meeting of the Mid-Florida ROC group and if your community is located in or near Lake or Sumter County and is not yet a member of that group, please let us know when you make your reservation and we’ll provide you with the contact information for one of the Mid-Florida ROC officers.

If you are interested in attending one of these seminars and your community hasn’t already reserved seats, please email either Karen Midlam (kmidlam@lutzbobo.com) or Kathy Sawdo (ksawdo@lutzbobo.com).  They’ll be able to provide you with directions and answer any other questions you might have.

We’re looking forward to seeing you at one of these seminars and if you have any topics you’d like to have us discuss at future seminars, please email me at sgordon@lutzbobo.com.