2010 Impartial (Tally) Committee Report
January 18, 2010
In preparation for this year’s election, last spring President Wood and I decided to implement a new voting certificate for all owners. In past years, the owners’ information sheet included the voting certificate which we felt presented a conflict. The Florida Statutes for Condominiums recognized the voting certification as part of the official records. Since our past voting certificate was within the owner’s information sheet that housed what we felt was personal information, we then decided that it was time to separate them. This would allow owners to have access to the voting certificate as part of the Towers official records and at the same time preserve each unit owner’s personal information.
The voting certificate is a crucial tool when validating ballots as it designates the owner who is entitled to cast the vote on behalf that particular unit1. The newly formatted voting certificate was submitted to the association’s legal council for approval, which was granted, and soon afterwards an explanation letter with the new blue voting certificate was sent to each owner. By having the voting certificate signed it not only designates the eligible voter for that unit but it allows the impartial committee to check the name and signature of the eligible voter on the outer envelope to be validated.2
As of last November, we had received many completed voting certificates from owners but there were some that were still outstanding. To ensure that the Towers had on file the proper designated voter for each unit, a letter was sent to all Towers owners informing them who the designated voter was for their unit. It also explained that if for any reason there is a change of the designated voter, the owner could notify the office and another voting certificate would be mailed to them.
Since there were still some owners who didn’t send in their voting certificate as of December, we decided that a certified letter would be mailed to those owners along with another voting certificate for them to complete. As a result, about half completed and returned the voting certificate which left us with only 8 out of 196 units that never responded. From those 8 units we were able to use 7 units that either had last year’s voting certification in case it was needed, or were sole owners; but as it turned out those units didn’t vote in this year’s election. That left us with only one unit that had multiple owners without a voting certification, and that unit also didn’t vote in this year’s election. In summary, we had all the voting certificate for those units that voted in this year’s election.
As stated at the last Board of Directors meeting that the association did its utmost to acquire the voting certificates from owners prior to the time of the election.
To complete the preparation, the Board had approved the members and alternate members of the impartial committee a few days before the election.
1 Towers Declaration, section 4, p 3, para 2.
2 Florida Administrative Code 61B-23.0021(10)
A notice was posted on the bulletin board and in the elevators more than 48 hours in advance of the owners’ annual meeting to advise owners that the impartial committee would be meeting at 7pm to start the validation process in an open forum.
The impartial committee first met in the manager’s office a few minutes before 7PM to receive instructions and be informed of the proper procedures. Following that, the impartial committee entered the clubhouse to commence the validation process.
The validation began by dividing the impartial committee into two separate groups. One group whose members owned units in the upper half floors validated the units in the lower half floors and visa versa for the other group. Each of the two groups had a three ring binder that held the voting certificates for those applicable units. The outer envelopes were checked off of the roster of unit owners indicating that those units had voted. Instructions were given to each group that if they felt that there were outer envelopes that should be disregarded, to put them aside and the committee as whole would then make that decision. After careful consideration by all committee members, a total of five envelopes had to be disregarded.
The next process was to tally the ballots which began with opening up the outer and inner envelopes and counting the votes on each ballot. This was accomplished by the committee members seated at three separate tables with one third (approximately fifty) of the ballots given to each table to count. Care was taken not to have a husband and wife at the same table and that members at each table were not counting ballots from the same floor that they own units to avoid any suggestions of conflict of interest. The outer envelopes were opened using a letter opener at the bottom of the envelope to preserve the upper left hand corner of the envelope that contained unit number, name and signature of the owners. The inner envelopes were extracted from the outer envelope and then put into a pile. After the inner envelopes were opened, the ballots were retrieved and put into a pile upside down.
From the pile of ballots the committee counted and recorded on their tally sheets 10 ballots at a time. This was done to save time if there was a miscount of the ten ballots, it would take less time to recount 10 than to recount 50. As it happened a miscount did happened at a table and ten ballots were recounted. Once all the committee members reached a consensus for a group of 10 ballots, they then proceeded to count the next group of 10 ballots. After all the ballots were counted at each table, the total was added onto their final tally sheet. The head teller then exchanged each table’s final tally sheet to another table to verify the totals.
The final step was to transfer the total results from each table’s final sheet to the master sheet at the head table. All committee members were present when these results were transferred. As soon as the master sheet was completed, the numbers were totalled using three calculators by three separate members. At that time the head teller asked all committee members if they agreed to the total amounts on the master sheet and if anyone had any complaints or concerns about the procedures used. With no complaints, all members agreed with the election results and as testament to that agreement, all tally committee members signed the master sheet.
The impartial committee was successful this year by conducting the election in an acceptable and timely manner. Many owners at the meeting were pleasantly surprise that the committee completed the election process by 9:30 pm. Preparation of the voting certificates was the key and starting the validation process one hour before the annual meeting also helped.
Knowing that there are divisions within our condominium as there are in many condominiums, the impartial committee made every effort to abide by the rules and regulations set within the framework of the Florida Administrative Code, thus ensuring proper procedures in conducting our election. No one person did anything alone; the whole committee was involved with every step of the process as owners expect our election process to be open and transparent.
There were 152 outer envelopes that were accepted and 5 that were not accepted (disregarded). We were able to conduct the election in an efficient and productive manner by having a full complement of impartial committee members. Thanks to all those on the impartial (tally) committee who helped with this year’s annual election.
The Impartial Committee Members were;
Carol Hall, William Hall, Sid Hansen, Elaine Kelley, Mary Jean Mullally, Roger Mullally,
David Tweedie, Karen Tweedie, Karen Vanderveen, and William Vanderveen, with Pauline Hansen as an alternate.
Elected Board of Directors (votes)
Edna Weeks – President (116)
Thomas Moore – Vice President (110)
Beatrice Atkins – 2nd Vice President (114)
Carol Ward – Secretary (97)
Edna Gothtlieb – Assistant Secretary (76)
Roger Verstay – Treasurer (90)
Sherri McConnell – Assistant Treasurer (90)