Florida Condominium Association Board Election Procedures: Florida Statute 718.112(2)(d) and Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) Rule 61B-23

The Florida Statutes, in combination with the Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C), provide specific processes and procedures relating to condominium association Board member elections. These rules have been established to ensure fair elections and to provide all unit owners interested in running for a seat on the Board the opportunity to do so. Failure to follow these procedures not only creates unit owner distrust of the Board but may also result in fines pursuant to FAC Rule 61B-21. Further, the association may be required to repeat the entire election process. This post will outline the Board election process and provide guidance on issues including search committees and campaigning.

NOTE: These rules generally do not apply to timeshare condominiums. Condominiums with less than 10 units are not obligated to follow these procedures. In order to adopt different voting and election procedures , an association must obtain a 51% affirmative vote of the membership.

Regular Board elections to fill vacancies created by the expiration of a Board term must be held at the annual meeting of the membership regardless of whether a quorum is present. Any Board vacancies not filled by an election (e.g., not enough people ran for the Board, a Board member resigns) may be filled by a vote of the remaining Board members at a duly called Board meeting.

 

The Election Process

First Notice of Election

The first notice of election must be mailed, emailed (so long as an electronic consent form has been received) or hand-delivered at least 60 days prior to the annual meeting/ election day. This notice may be part of another unit owner communication such as a routine newsletter. There is no specific format in which this notice must be given but the notice should include, at a minimum:

  • The date, time and location of the annual meeting/ election
  • Details surrounding how a unit owner may become a candidate for the Board (discussed below)
  • Details surrounding the information sheet a Board candidate may submit (discussed below)

If the association fails to properly issue the first notice, the association must restart the notification process.

Receipt of Intents to Run for the Board

At least 40 days prior to the annual meeting/ election, all unit owners desiring to be candidates for the Board must inform the association in writing of their intent to run. Unit owners may send a letter (certified mail or regular mail), an email, a fax, or hand-deliver a written statement. I recommend that the association provide an “intent to run” form for unit owners to fill out. The association must issue a written notice of receipt of the unit owner’s intent to run and may deliver this receipt via mail, email, fax or hand-delivery.

At least 35 days prior to the annual meeting/ election, candidates for the Board may submit to the association an information sheet discussing their qualifications/ reasons for running for the Board. The information sheet must be a one-sided, 8.5”x11” sheet of paper. Associations may use two-sided printing when distributing the information sheets (discussed below) to reduce paper usage.

NOTE: At 40 days prior to the annual meeting/ election, if there are fewer candidates for the Board than spaces on the Board to fill, no election is necessary.

NOTE: At 40 days prior to the annual meeting/ election, unit owners that are more than 90 days delinquent in paying a monetary obligation to the association are not eligible to run for the Board. Further, felons that have not had their civil rights restored for at least 5 years are not eligible.

Second Notice of Election

The second notice of election must be mailed or hand-delivered (electronic transmission is not is NOT an option) between 14 and 34 days prior to the annual meeting/ election day. There is no specific format required for this notice but I recommend that it include:

  • Details surrounding how to cast a vote in the Board member election (discussed below)
  • Details surrounding how to fill out and submit the annual meeting limited proxy
  • Explanations of any specific items (e.g., surplus carryover, year-end financial reporting waive down) on which the association is requesting the membership vote

Along with the second notice, the association should include:

  • The agenda for the annual meeting
  • A limited proxy for quorum purposes (if interested, consider adding the vote to waive down the year-end financial reporting requirement to the annual meeting agenda and add the vote to the proxy)
  • A ballot including only the names of all candidates for the Board, listed alphabetically by surname (ensure all ballots are consistent in appearance)
  • An outer envelope labeled with the address of the property manager OR association (wherever you would prefer the votes go) and spaces for the owner’s unit number, name and signature
  • An inner envelope with nothing on the outside (unit owners that own more than one unit should have an inner envelope for each unit they own)

If the association fails to properly issue the second notice, the association must restart the notification process.

Voting in the Election

To cast a vote in the election, a unit owner must write their name, unit number and signature on the outside of the outer envelope. They must select their chosen candidates using the ballot (nothing else is to be written on the ballot, no write-in candidates are allowed) and place the ballot in the inner envelope. The inner envelope(s) must be placed into the outer envelope and should be mailed or hand-delivered to the association/ property manager. Unit owners may cast their votes using the same process at the annual meeting up to the point that outer envelopes begin to be opened. Once a ballot is submitted, it cannot be rescinded or changed.

NOTE: F.A.C has specific rules for voting machines.

Counting Votes

The vote count must be conducted at the annual meeting in a location that is visible to all attendees. Once all ballots have been collected, the names and unit numbers listed on the outer envelopes will be checked against a list of eligible voting by an impartial committee (i.e., no Board members, candidates, or family members of Board members/ candidates). Any outer envelopes without signature shall be marked with the word DISREGARDED and not included in the vote count. Once completed, all inner envelopes should be removed from outer envelopes and placed in a separate receptacle by the impartial committee. The inner envelopes will then be opened. Any inner envelopes with more than one ballot inside should be marked as DISREGARDED and not included in the vote count. The results should be announced at the annual meeting.

NOTE: In order for an election to be valid, at least 20% of the membership must have voted. If not achieved, the association must begin the election process again.

Runoff Elections

If there is a tie vote that creates the need for a runoff election, the association must send a Notice of Runoff Election during the 7 days after the annual meeting/ election. This notice must include a new ballot listing the tied candidates’ names, the candidates’ information sheets, as well as inner and outer envelopes. All previous voting and vote counting procedures must be followed. The runoff election must be held 21-30 days after the annual meeting/ election.

Fair Election Concerns

If unit owners are concerned that the association is not going to run a fair election, an election monitor may be petitioned using DBPR Form CO 6000-9. The F.A.C requires that the greater of 15% of the membership and 6 members sign the petition.

If a unit owner wishes to challenge an election, they must do so using the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s complaint form within 60 days of the election results.

Election Official Records

The first notice, second notice, intents to run, information sheets, envelopes, and ballots (including those marked as DISREGARDED) are considered official records of the association and must be maintained for at least one year from the date of the election.

Search Committees and Campaigning

The F.AC is very clear that committees designed to officially nominate potential candidates for the Board (“ nominating committees”) are strictly prohibited. That being said, there is no reason why a Board can not put together a search committee responsible for identifying unit owners that may be good Board members and discussing with them the possibility of running for the Board. Further, there is nothing prohibiting current Board members or the association manger from encouraging certain unit owners to run for the Board.

Campaigning for Board elections is allowed per the FAC and the Florida Statutes; however, it is in the best interest of the Board so set up some guidelines regarding campaigning. For example, the Board may identify certain areas (e.g., an information board in a common area) that candidates can post campaign ads so as to avoid a candidate papering the property with “Vote for Me” posters.

NOTE: The community’s manager should remain impartial as it relates to Board elections. If your manager is telling unit owners how to vote in an election, consider submitting a complaint to the DBPR regarding their behavior.

If you have any questions about the above process, do not hesitate to comment or send me an email. Templates for any of the notices or forms discussed above are available upon request.

Emily

Emily Shaw is a condominium homeowner in Tampa, Florida and a Director of VERA Property Management, a firm providing full-service community association management in the Tampa Bay Area as well as consulting, financial and legal services to all Florida community associations. 

33 Responses to Florida Condominium Association Board Election Procedures: Florida Statute 718.112(2)(d) and Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) Rule 61B-23

  1. tgor5@yahoo.com

    W ho is not elegible to run for a seat on condominium board.Thank you for your cooperation.

    • Hello –

      Unit owners that are delinquent in paying a monetary obligation to the Board are not eligible to run and neither are felons that have not had their civil rights restored for at least 5 years.

      Emily

  2. Is there a minimum number of votes that a candidate for the board needs to get to be considered a winner? For instance, if someone votes once for themselves, and there needs to be 5 board members, can that person be assigned to the board and be one of the 5?

    • Hi Robert –

      I am not aware of any actual minimum number of votes that must be received. The only requirement is that at least 20% of the membership must vote in the election for it to be valid. I’m trying to think of how the scenario that you are describing would happen. Could you provide more details?

      Thanks,

      Emily

  3. I manage a 522 unit condominium. 392 units are owned by one investment company. No one other than the 3 present board members has registered to run. All three members presently on the board represent the investors.
    The same three have indicated their intent to run at the 2014 annual meeting. Do we hold an annual meeting or do the 3 present board members just decide amongst themselves the slate of officers going forward?

    • Hi Ted –

      In this case you would still hold the annual meeting but there would be no election. The Board would use the time at the annual meeting to determine which Board members would hold which positions.

      Emily

  4. Would a management company be in violation of Florida Law, or subject to any sanctions, should they send a copy of a candidate’s nonmination statement to an outside agency for impeachment of the nominees comments and then publish the reply via email to owners/voters prior to the election?

    • Hi Steve-

      I’m not 100% sure I understand your question. Are you asking whether or not the management company can send a Board candidate’s information sheet to someone like a private investigator to determine if the candidate’s statements are accurate and then email the homeowners the results?

      Emily

      • Not exactly. In this case the nominee, in outlining his election platform, suggested the management company’s procurement of a major contract should have been handled more professionally. The management company sent the nominee’s statement to the contractor requesting and receiving a letter specifically impeaching the nominee’s arguments and emailed it to owners.

        • Steve –

          I wouldn’t say off the bat that this behavior is in violation of Florida law but it is certainly questionable at best. A Board candidate has the right to include whatever information he likes on his information sheet and the management company certainly should NOT be using its position and ability to contact the homeowners in order to specifically contradict a candidates comments. I personally think you should find another management company as this seems highly unprofessional to me.

          Emily

  5. Maria P. Castellanos

    Hi Emily,
    Thanks for the information. I have many questions but the most relevant now are regarding the dates of the meeting for the election of Board of Directors. Our condominium: “Bonita Golf View Townvillas (BGV)” was constructed in two stages: Stage I and Stage II. However, we have three (3) associations (why? idk). One of them is BGV POA (Property Owners Association) for $20 monthly where Stage I and Stage II share the same directors: president, treasurer and secretary for all of us, their units and our units. And there are “BGV Stage I Condominium Association, Inc” with their own board of directors and the last “BGV Stage II” with our own board of directors.
    To make it short, the same (terrible) directors for more than 6 years or more are re-elected every year because there is no quorum to change them. Why? because the dates the use to choose for elections.
    This year we have the date for POA election on Tuesday, November 25 @ 6 pm (note that is 2 days before thanksgiving and also ppl who is working can’t be on time at 6 pm). And the letter for election for Board of directors of BGV Stage II is on December 22 @ 6 pm (note that is 2 days before Xmas) therefore everybody is absent or busy. We receive the letter on Oct 21,14.
    Is there something that we can do to change the date and the time? we have about 214 units but many are in foreclosure. We have not info at all.
    Thanks for your help and forgive me english.
    Yours,
    A very concerned owner

    • Hi Maria –

      This is a very specific situation and would require evaluation of your condo docs. If you’d like advice on this, shoot me an email and we can talk more about next steps.

      Emily

  6. Regarding the ballot itself, is there anything that allows or does not allow a restriction on the number of candidates that must be voted for? If you have 5 vacancies for the board, and 8 people running, can you limit the number that must be selected in the ballot? I can see limiting the maximum to 5 for somewhat obvious reasons, but can you limit it so that a vote for less than 5 would also not be allowed? Is there someplace that spells this out in the statutes?

    • Hi Paul –

      I don’t think there is anything this specific in the statutes or FAC. I would think, though, that if someone only votes for 4 people that should still be counted as a vote for each of those four people. What would be the argument for not counting those four votes?

      Emily

  7. Hi Emily,
    Thanks for the response. I think what we are questioning is not really whether or not to count the votes per se, but wondering what would happen if everyone just voted for one person, and we had to fill 5 vacancies. Since we obviously could not have a 1 person board, it’s more about filling out the remainder I guess. If everyone running for the baord just voted for themselves, and everyone else just cast a vote for 1 out of the 5 I guess the result would be a run-off, and I don’t know that the results of that would be very different! We are a very small association, and this scenario is more plausible than you might think!
    Thanks again for your time.

  8. At the Colony Beach and Tennis Club we have not had an election or annual meeting this year.

    Today Nov. 1 is past 60 days when a notice for an annual meeting for 2014 needs to be sent out…

    The Board does not seem to be interested in having an annual meeting.

    Nor does the Board seem to be interested in maintaining the property.

    What can owners do about this?

    Can the individual members of the Board be fined and wont those fines just be paid for by the owners.

    • Hi Jane –

      As a homeowner you have the right to gather with other homeowners to insist that the Board address specific items. I believe per FS Chapter 718 that 20% of homeowners must petition in order to do this. If your Board is not following its bylaws/declaration in not having an annual meeting, then you should file a compliant with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. If the DBPR finds that the Board is acting inappropriately then the Association (not specific Board members as far as I know) can be fined. So, in that way, the homeowners would be paying these fines. Hopefully, though, it would be enough to encourage change.

      Let me know if you’d like to discuss further.

      Emily

  9. I recall that many years ago the envelope procedure for board elections applied only to condominium associations that had 25 units or more. Does this still apply, or does everyone have to follow the same procedure? I live in a 16-unit condo association.

    • Hi Ruth –

      F.S. 718.112(2)(d)(10) states: an association of 10 or fewer units may, by affirmative vote of a majority of the total voting interests, provide for different voting and election procedures in its bylaws, which may be by a proxy specifically delineating the different voting and election procedures. The different voting and election procedures may provide for elections to be conducted by limited or general proxy.

      I believe a 25-unit condo must follow the F.S. election procedures.

      Emily

  10. What can be done when condominium election notices contain errors and corrections have to be sent out to unit owners. (e.g . Date of election shows November 20 2015 when the date should have been November 20, 2014. Proxy for a meeting November 20 2014, states “this proxy shall be valid until November 3 2014.”. verification of the outer envelope was not done in accordance with Statute. That is meeting must be noticed in the same manner as board meetings and must be open to all unit owners.
    Thank you

    • Roy –

      When there is a clear violation of election procedure, the election process must start from the beginning. There does need to be some reasonable analysis, I would think, in the event the only issue was an incorrect date on a proxy, particularly if correct information was stated elsewhere. When in doubt, and if it is reasonable to believe that an error could create an unfair election, then you should start again.

      Emily

  11. Our condominium association recently held it’s annual election. Only 5 members were interested in serving, so all were appointed as we had 9 vacancies. Two days after the election and appointment of officers, it was discovered that one candidate was ineligible. Do we need to hold a new election? Do the officers retain their positions? The officers positions were voted 3-2 with the ineligible member in the majority, so without his vote, all officer votes would have ended in a tie.

    • Hi Jon –

      If you didn’t have to hold an election initially because you had fewer candidates than vacancies, then I would say that you don’t need to go through the election process all over again. Regarding officer positions, that is tricky. I think the Board needs to decide if they want to reconsider the positions or not. If two want to change positions and two don’t, then I’d argue that no change is made and the Board proceed as is. I’m afraid there isn’t a clear cut answer here as far as I know.

      Emily

  12. Can the Property Manager and her husband be the only people to verify the envelopes with the owners name and unit number or does and owner need to be present?

    • Hi Shirley –

      The Florida Administrative Code states that an “impartial committee” must be responsible for envelope verification and ballot counting. Impartial is defined as anyone other than current Board members, officers and candidates. So, with that, I believe the property manager and her husband could complete the envelope verification. Of course, all envelopes and ballots must be retained and are open for inspection by homeowners.

      Emily

  13. Does Florida allow electronic voting? Is it legal for board elections or just other issues? What about mail-in ballots? Can we accept electronic ballots the same as mail-in ballot since the Electronic Transmission Act?

    • Hi Dan –

      Florida does allow for voting via voting machine but no other type of electronic voting. Unless you are using a voting machine, the standard paper-based voting process applies. The Florida Administrative Code provides the following basic guidelines regarding voting machines:

      (12) At a minimum, all voting machines shall meet the following requirements:
      (a) Shall secure to the voter secrecy in the act of voting;
      (b) Shall permit the voter to vote for as many persons and offices as he is lawfully entitled to vote for, but no more;
      (c) Shall correctly register or record, and accurately count all votes cast for any and all persons;
      (d) Shall be furnished with an electric light or proper substitute, which will give sufficient light to enable voters to read the ballots; and
      (e) Shall be provided with a screen, hood, or curtain which shall be made and adjusted so as to conceal the voter and his actions while voting.

      Emily

  14. Is there any prohibition in 718 or through DBPR that disallows for candidates to run together as a block?

    • Jane –

      How do you mean running together as a block? Do you mean that the homeowners would vote for a group of Board members versus voting for each individually?

      Emily

  15. Emily,
    Is there a difference between condo docs and by laws?
    Also ,can you tell me who would be responsible for retaining bills/invoices paid from association funds? (we do retain a mgt. company)
    Thank You

    • Hi Edward –

      The phrase condo docs refers to the full set of documents which govern your association. This includes your Declaration of Condominium, Bylaws and Rules & Regs. As far as bills/ invoices, the Association is required to maintain these are part of their official records so ultimate responsibility is with the Board. From a practical perspective, however, the accounting department of your management company should have all these records. Your property manager should be able to get them for you.

      Emily

  16. The same people have run our 3 person Board for years because we haven’t had other candidates until this year. Is there a place in the Fl Statutes that says candidates with expired terms have to step down if “new blood” is interested in serving? thanks

    • Edie,

      The Florida Statutes don’t deal much with term limits. Term limits are typically set in your bylaws so I would look there. Generally though, unless your bylaws state otherwise, a Board member whose term expired is eligible to run again for reelection. In your circumstance, if “new blood” is interested, they would be eligible to run for election against any “old blood” interested in continuing to serve. There is no provision in the statutes that requires people having serving on the Board for a long time to step down.

      Emily

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