Condo Owners Forum

"It's about community. It's about bringing people together. It's about creativity and service. It's about making the community in which we live a really good place to be." - In Miscellaneous Quotes, by Andy Stoll

Home COFSAB Forum Legislation, Bylaws and Rules How to Confirm Ballot Votes Were Counted Honestly

  • How to Confirm Ballot Votes Were Counted Honestly

    Posted by Karen on April 10, 2022 at 4:15 pm

    jonfklein@gmail.com

    My condo will be holding a virtual AGM in a few weeks. The resolutions to be decided at the AGM, including election of board members, will be voted on by “restricted proxy” ballots prior to the meeting. Completed ballots are to be scanned/photographed and emailed to the building manager. It has been proposed that one board member and a representative of the management company, possibly the building manager, will count the votes for each resolution on the ballots.

    My questions are:

    How can owners confirm that the votes were counted honestly? For example, should the ballots be published after the meeting, revealing how each owner voted?

    What does the law say about counting votes on “restricted proxy” ballots?

    Karen replied 4 months ago 1 Member · 0 Replies
  • 0 Replies
  • Karen

    Administrator
    April 10, 2022 at 4:16 pm

    GibsonT

    Great questions!

    FYI COF will be sponsoring a Virtual CondoChat featuring a Board Chair who ran a virtual AGM earlier this year and a condo specialist lawyer (Dionne Levesque of SVK) on Saturday December 5, 2020 at 1000.

    Watch the announcement in an upcoming COF newsletter.  Registration is required.

    To subscribe to newsletter: newsletter signup link (membership not required).

    The event will be members only. Membership details.

    I know you are a member, but please pass on the information for others.

    • Karen

      Administrator
      April 10, 2022 at 4:17 pm

      jonfklein@gmail.com

      @terry-g

      Ok, I’ll plan to attend that Virtual CondoChat. Our AGM procedure will be established by then, but regardless of the procedure we use I figure the law must provide a way for owners to verify that votes were counted accurately.

      • Karen

        Administrator
        April 10, 2022 at 4:18 pm

        GibsonT

        We do have to remember that these are unprecedented times.

        And – just one guy’s opinion – but I think Service Alberta could be doing a better job to provide guidance to Alberta condominium owners.

        • Karen

          Administrator
          April 10, 2022 at 4:19 pm

          MarkH

          @jonfkleingmail-com  You wrote: “I figure the law must provide a way for owners to verify that votes were counted accurately”.

          The answer isn’t always in the Condominium Property Act & Regulation. During my career as a civil servant, several times I worked to help make elections work – as a poll clerk, ‘Sergeant’ at the door in a BC municipal election. Working for Elections Canada (EC) as a poll clerk, we administered the election process at the poll including counting the ballots. Party volunteers scrutinised us to ensure we did the job properly. The scrutineers stood near enough to see what we were doing and could ask to see a ballot was properly placed and counted. They couldn’t touch the ballots. At the end of the count, we passed the count result to the chief of the polling station who passed the information to EC. We gave the scrutineers the same information and they passed it to the party HQs. It was a game between the parties and EC to see who could post the results first.

          The lesson for us in the condominium world is to appoint someone (or two) to conduct the count, perhaps an administrator if counting unit factors is required, and have two unrelated owners to monitor the process. This will be tricky in a world of coronavirus; masking, health checks and distancing will need to be introduced to the process.

          You could also consider asking a third party to conduct the votes. Two organisations that have conducted votes I have been involved in (only as a satisfied voter) are Opavote and Simply Voting  I expect there are many others.

          • Karen

            Administrator
            April 10, 2022 at 4:19 pm

            jonfklein@gmail.com

            @MarkH-2

            Great information. Thanks.

            In our case the AGM will be conducted virtually, so there are no concerns regarding the virus. But I am concerned that the system proposed by our manager is open to tampering, with no way for the other owners to verify the vote count.

            I am thinking that I will propose they use an online vote system, such as one of the organizations you mentioned. Our management company is one of the larger ones in the city, so I assume they will know how to do this. But if for some reason they can’t get that set up, then I think the only way to ensure a fair vote is to publish all the ballots. This isn’t ideal because the ballots won’t be private, but it would be the same as voting in an in-person AGM.

            Do you know if the Alberta government will allow online voting systems to conduct an AGM?

            • Karen

              Administrator
              April 10, 2022 at 4:22 pm

              MarkH

              Posted by: @jonfkleingmail-com@MarkH-2

              Great information. Thanks.

              In our case the AGM will be conducted virtually, so there are no concerns regarding the virus. But I am concerned that the system proposed by our manager is open to tampering, with no way for the other owners to verify the vote count.

              MarkH: It looks to me as if the board should take control, by choosing to use one of the electronic means. There may not be time this year, but there will be another year – or defer the current election until you can get it set up electronically.

              I am thinking that I will propose they use an online vote system, such as one of the organizations you mentioned. Our management company is one of the larger ones in the city, so I assume they will know how to do this.

              MarkH: Don’t assume!

              But if for some reason they can’t get that set up, then I think the only way to ensure a fair vote is to publish all the ballots. This isn’t ideal because the ballots won’t be private, but it would be the same as voting in an in-person AGM.

              A show of hands at an AGM is obvious, but all the balloted votes for board I have been involved in have been by acclaim (the same number of candidates as open positions) or by secret ballot.

              Do you know if the Alberta government will allow online voting systems to conduct an AGM?

              MarkH: This is where we wish Service Alberta would take leadership. Check the thread elsewhere where Bob MacLeod describes their recent elections. I believe, since the electronic elections are not forbidden, that they could be permitted; especially if your bylaws say so. I subscribe to the hypothesis that unless something is expressly forbidden, it is permitted. Pat Knoll, what do you think?