Owners in most homeowner associations are allowed to give a proxy for an owners meeting to someone else to vote on their behalf. It’s a convenient way to ensure that your vote counts. But, the concept of proxies raises a number of issues. Is there a limit to how many proxies a homeowner can have? Is the proxy holder voting as the grantor wishes? Is the use of proxies following the Homeowner Association rules?
Proxies should be used according to the procedure established for the association. If owners or Board members question the use of proxies, check your governing documents to ensure that you’re following HOA rules. You may find that your HOA has the rules covered.
Some HOA Boards find that their governing documents don’t set limits on the number of proxies that one owner can vote. This topic has conflict potential, especially in close elections. While the Board may want to set limits on the number of proxies that one owner can vote, it’s important to recognize that proxies may allow you to meet a quorum.
Appointing people to go door-to-door to get proxies can make the difference in having a quorum for voting. Your HOA may need this option, so you don’t want to make a rule that interferes with achieving a quorum. Yet, you want to prevent homeowners questioning the credibility of an election due to a single owner soliciting and voting multiple proxies. It’s a balancing act.
If you want to limit the number of proxies for your association, consider an amendment that proxies can be used only toward a quorum. This gives you the flexibility of reaching a quorum while eliminating proxy voting when the HOA has the minimum number of votes required.
Another possibility is to limit the number of proxies that may be voted by a single owner. To ensure the flexibility to reach a quorum, consider adding an exception for meeting a quorum. This is a more lenient rule that limits the number of proxies instead of eliminating them.
It’s important to check your governing documents before you act. In most cases, a rule can be adopted unless there’s a prohibition in your governing documents or state law on how proxies are handled. Amending the bylaws is the best way to ensure that your Board enacts legally enforceable limits.
By establishing rules on how proxies are used in your association, you can help homeowners have a voice in their community.