Your Homeowners Association’s meeting or a Special Meeting of homeowners is scheduled and you’re unable to attend. Not to worry, your presence may still be felt, and your vote counted by assigning your proxy to someone else. At each such meeting, there must be a quorum present; a minimum percentage of homeowners represented that legally justifies official business being accomplished at the meeting. Quorums are required by law and by each association’s governing documents.
A proxy is the written authorization that allows one person qualified to vote to appoint another (the proxy holder) to vote on his or her behalf. A proxy is customarily assigned without a Notary’s stamp, requiring only the signature of the owner of the address that proxy, or substitute vote, represents. State law and most all association’s governing documents specify that the association can use proxy voting. These provisions exist because there may not always be a enough people physically present to provide the quorum necessary to legally conduct business. Your proxy counts as actual attendance, it is just attendance via a substitute.
Why would you use a proxy for a meeting of homeowners? Maybe you’re traveling during the election or have other obligations that prevent you from attending the meeting, but you still want your voice to be heard. We recommend assigning a proxy if there is any doubt that you will be able to attend the meeting. Only the items that are noted in the meeting notice or its enclosed agenda may be voted on at the homeowner’s meeting, so if new matters of concern arise during the meeting they can only be discussed and cannot legally be put to a vote.
If you’re interested in using a proxy, ask the manager or a board member for a proxy form (Allied HOA Management includes the current proxy form in the official Notice of Annual Meeting sent to all owners). Cite the name of the individual you’re appointing to cast your vote. The proxy must contain your name, address and telephone number, and be signed and dated. Usually, proxies are assigned to someone the proxy giver can be assured will actually attend the meeting. If someone holds your proxy and does not actually attend the meeting themselves no one else can use that proxy; it will not be counted either for a quorum count or a vote. If it turns out that you are able to attend the meeting, let the person responsible for distributing ballots know that your proxy should be revoked.
The association can only accept one proxy form per lot or unit address, so be sure to fill out your form accurately. If ownership of the address is by more than one person, all the owners must sign the same form, because votes belonging to one lot cannot be split. By only accepting one official form, the Association doesn’t need to check each proxy to determine if it satisfies legal requirements. It also mitigates potential problems when there is a very close vote.
Be aware that by assigning your proxy to another person, you’ve authorized the proxy holder to vote for you as he or she sees fit. The proxy holder is responsible for voting or abstaining from a vote. Essentially, a proxy is an act of trust—the proxy giver should trust the judgment of the proxy holder. You can always assign your proxy the current President of the HOA, who is likely one of the most informed members of your community. Bear in mind that your proxy may only be used for the meeting specified on the proxy form.
Proxies are especially vital when there is an election for board members, or a major issue needs to be decided by a vote of the membership. As busy as we all are these days, proxies are a key element in the success of HOA meetings, helping to ensure a quorum is present.