As Ontario prepares to digitize aspects of the voting process in the upcoming provincial election, a U.S.-based company is paving the way for condo corporations to make a similar move. Vote HOA Now, which serves clients in Mexico and close to half of the U.S. states, is bringing electronic voting, or e-voting, for condos to Canada through a new company called CondoVoter.
Last fall, changes to Ontario’s condo laws gave condo boards the ability to introduce electronic voting to their communities through the passage of a bylaw by a majority vote at a meeting where at least 25 per cent of owners are present.
Electronic voting is predated by electronic proxies, which basically digitized the form that owners who have to miss meetings can use to send someone else in their stead, either for quorum or voting purposes. By contrast, electronic voting basically digitizes the entire voting process, allowing owners to cast ballots directly through a secure website.
“We are doing electronic voting now in Ontario — not proxy voting, but actual voting,” said condo lawyer Denise Lash, who has partnered with the electronic voting company. “This eliminates the need for proxies — the one major complaint by owners, boards and managers.”
Proxy manipulation, and the accompanying questions about the integrity of condo board election results, are a recurring concern in the condo world.
In addition to taking proxies out of the equation, electronic voting is touted for its potential to save time, money and trees as well as make it easier for owners to weigh in on the affairs of their condo corporation.
“It solves the problem of owner apathy in getting participation, especially with the younger condo owner,” said Scott McKeel, co-owner of CondoVoter.