A.N. from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
An unexpected motion came up to make changes to our Bylaws, a Board of Five members. All voted “Yes”. After giving more thought to the changes later that evening, the changes were taking voices away from the homeowners. Early the next morning I requested to rescind my vote, not agreeing with the changes. The President refused my request because I originally voted Yes. Did I have the right to rescind my vote?
Mister Condo replies:
A.N., I am glad to hear that you decided to change your vote after realizing the impact to your fellow homeowners, the folks that elected you to represent them. However, unless your governing documents or state law allow for you to rescind your vote, I don’t think there is too much you can do about that. That being said, if I were a homeowner and an item of such import that was not on the agenda was voted upon, I would be crying foul. The Board does need to publish an agenda prior to their meeting. Since this was an unexpected motion, I have to assume it wasn’t on the agenda. That means the vote can likely be challenged because homeowners were not given adequate notice that this vote was going to be held. You, too, are a homeowner and you can question this non-agenda item being voted upon without adequate notice. Keep in mind that homeowners really only have a “voice” in votes a few specific times. They get to elect you and your fellow Board Members. They get to ratify or reject the Annual Budget. They have voting rights for anything else identified in the governing documents, typically changes to the Declaration, CC&Rs, certain by-laws, etc. Without knowing what the vote was about, it is hard for me to give you an opinion on how hard you should protest your vote not being eligible for rescission. I would suggest that if you are uncomfortable with the outcome of the vote, take a look at whether or not it was properly noticed via the agenda. If it wasn’t you could ask for a proper noticing of the vote and then have the motion voted upon again. At that time, you could simply vote the way you wish. All the best!