D.K. from Ocean County, New Jersey writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We have an election coming up and the PM has sent ballots every few days for a week. One for notice of the meeting, followed by a ballot for candidates, followed by a ballot to vote on a disputed amendment to alter the master deed. All of these ballots are required to be returned one day before the election meeting. And, so, no voting at the meeting, even though required. The PM is stating that this in due to the requirements of the Radburn Law. But that law restates our own master deed requiring in person anonymous voting. Am I misinformed about the Radburn law or is the demand to return all ballots prior to the meeting correct? It all seems totally underhanded and deceptive.
Mister Condo replies:
D.K., yours is not the only association to be confused by the “Radburn” Rules enacted last year. There has been great confusion and little clarity added, resulting in situations such as you are describing. I am not an attorney and this is clearly an item worth discussing with your association’s attorney before these important votes are held or there may be an opportunity for these votes to be challenged by association members who do not like the outcomes of the votes, especially the altering of the Master Deed. Returning of Sample Ballots before the meeting is a requirement. However, the Sample Ballot is not an Absentee Ballot nor does it replace in person voting, in my understanding. That being said, please get a legal opinion from your association attorney before proceeding. The idea of the Radburn Rules was to have the association practice in the light of day. While its intent was noble, its implementation seems to have caused more confusion. I expect you will see clarification in the next few years. All the best!