A Primer on Association Election Basics as Season is Set to Begin

With the holiday season approaching, now is the time that many condominium associations in Florida are gearing up for their annual meetings and board member elections.  It is essential for the current board and property management to have a complete understanding of the condominium election process.

At least 60 days prior to date of the meeting and election, the association must mail, deliver or electronically transmit a first notice of the election to each unit owner.  This first notice sets forth the date, time and location of the meeting.  Those members who wish to be considered for board membership must then give written notice of their intent to run for the board to the association at least 40 days prior to the scheduled date of the election.  Although not required, candidates have an additional five days to submit information sheets about themselves.

A second notice of the annual meeting and election together with an agenda for the meeting must then be mailed, delivered or electronically transmitted to all of the members together with a ballot that lists every candidate who submitted their names to run for board membership. meetingvote Any information sheets submitted by the candidates must also be included with the distribution of the ballot – regardless of their content.  Return envelopes that allow for owners to print and sign their names and include their unit numbers should also be included with this mail out.

In order to have a valid election, and be able to open envelopes and count votes, at least 20 percent of the eligible voters must cast a ballot.  Unit owners are not permitted to allow any other person to vote using their ballot, and all of the ballot envelopes must be retained by the association for at least one year.

Within 90 days after the election is completed, each newly elected or appointed director must certify in writing to the secretary of the association that they have read the association’s declaration of condominium, articles of incorporation, bylaws and current written policies; they will work to uphold these documents and policies to the best of their ability; and they will faithfully discharge their fiduciary responsibilities to the association’s members.  Otherwise, they must submit a certificate of having satisfactorily completed an educational curriculum administered by a division-approved condominium education provider (such as our law firm which regularly conducts board member certification seminars).  Those who fail to timely file the written certification or educational certificate are suspended from service on the board until they comply.

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has published a helpful condominium election brochure covering most of the procedural aspects of condo elections.  A PDF of the brochure is available by clicking here.

Elections can sometimes prove to be extremely challenging and contentious for associations, and it is imperative to consult closely with highly qualified and experienced legal counsel in order to help ensure that they adhere to all of the statutory mandates.