L.G. from Hartford County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
During our most recent election of Directors, a ballot was thrown away and another put in. Can we call a new election because it was breached? Thank you.
Mister Condo replies:
L.G., I am sorry to learn of inappropriate election processes at any condo association. The right to vote is of paramount importance in any democratic organization and is protected under your association’s rules as well as state law. Your question gives me cause me to have a few follow-up questions before I can offer some friendly advice. Electoral misconduct can be challenged, either locally through the association or via a lawsuit that would go before a court. Of course, there are circumstances which could cause a ballot to be legitimately discarded. For instance, a proxy ballot that is submitted without a signature or proxy designee to cast the proxy vote could be legally discarded because it was not submitted properly.
How do you know a ballot was thrown away? Was this witnessed by credible sources? Are these sources willing to testify in the event of a lawsuit? All three of these questions need to be answered truthfully before you can proceed.
Did this discarded ballot change the outcome of the vote in a significant manner? That is to say, would this one ballot have changed the outcome of the vote? If the answer to all of these questions is “yes”, then I would say you may have grounds to call for a new election.
Your claim of breach of election and request for a new election should be sent to the association secretary as well as the property manager if you have one. You may be asked to appear before the Board at an upcoming meeting to explain your claim. The Board should then take the appropriate action to correct the breach. If they do not and you are still unsatisfied, you may wish to bring a legal action against the Board. You can do this yourself or you may wish to hire an attorney with experience in community association law. A great resource and be found online at http://www.caict.org/?page=Directory#Attorney – Law Firms. Best wishes.