T.H. from North Carolina writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We have a board of five and it seems that when they vote on any proposals one board member always abstains and nothing get done. Is this legal? Thank you.
Mister Condo replies:
T.H., thanks for writing. The legality of the vote is defined by two things. What do the governing documents say and what do any local, state, or federal laws say. As you know I am not an attorney and I offer no legal advice here. If you require a true legal opinion, I suggest you contact a local attorney who specializes in community association governance.
From a friendly perspective, I will offer that unless the Board Member who is abstaining from voting has a legitimate reason for doing so (a conflict of interest, for instance), this Board Member’s service to the Board and to the association is dubious at best. I do not believe there is anything illegal about abstaining from a vote. In fact, I believe it is a right and there are certainly times when abstaining makes perfect sense. However, to patently abstain each and every time a vote comes around is simply not a practice that the community needs to support. Since votes of the Board are association records, it would be fair to point this out at the next election cycle and suggest a better candidate for the position. If no one runs against this Board member and he or she is reelected, this abstinence of voting will likely continue and the community will continue to face the challenge of not getting anything done. All the best!