M.G. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We were recently notified of our annual condo meeting which we will be asked to vote on the new budget for the coming year in addition to voting for the election of 3 new board positions. Included in the mailer, we received a ballot to vote on the 3 new board positions. We also received a blank proxy to sign over our vote to another owner in the event that we could not attend the meeting. There was no ballot to vote on the new annual budget.
My question/concern is that I cannot attend the annual meeting and I do not feel comfortable signing over a proxy to allow someone else vote on my behalf. There is a ballot for the vote on the new board members which I could complete but there is no ballot for the vote on the budget. Should we have received a ballot for the budget vote or can the budget vote only be done at the actual meeting?
Mister Condo replies:
M.G., proxy voting is handled differently in different associations. I cannot give you a “one size fits all” answer. Your governance documents list the details for proxy voting, including the who, how, and why. Typically, any unit owner who cannot attend the meeting can submit a proxy in order for a quorum to be achieved so the meeting can be held. Unless your governance documents spell out the rest of the details about how the proxy vote works in your association, there may be little left for you to do other than refuse to submit a proxy because you are not satisfied with the proxy’s ability to convey your preference on the annual budget. To be fair, the Board typically prepares the budget and the community typically accepts the Board’s recommendation. Unless the budget is particularly controversial (big common fee increase, special assessment), it is likely to pass. If the budget is defeated, the existing budget is carried over for one more year. Selecting who will represent you is important and I strongly suggest you do submit your proxy so that the new Board members can be elected and your voice can be heard, even if only by proxy. Good luck!