Our Nominating Committee has performed excellent work doing everything possible to preserve clean and fair elections. In particular, the Chair of the Nominating Committee has maintained balance and perseverance through a difficult period when it has been difficult to find candidates willing to serve on our Board. Our community owes much of its future to the efforts of these dedicated neighbors.
Unfortunately for homeowners, crucial misinformation and serious mistakes by the property management agent have hindered and threatened our election process.
- Secret Unsigned Ballots Should Still Be Allowed. For several years, the property management agent has advised that ballots must be signed. In recent elections, valid ballots that were not signed were rejected, left uncounted in the tally.
The agent neglected to inform us that the Texas Residential Property Owners Protection Act (the “Protection Act”) grants an exception for secret ballots, as long as the integrity of the election can be preserved. The agent has also failed to recognize that CountryPlace has already had the necessary procedures required by the Protection Act for secret balloting, modeled after the systems long used for local, state and federal elections.
For the current election, given the existing situation, homeowners should sign their ballots as instructed. For future elections, the good work of our Nominating Committee will not face interference from misinformation about the voting process. Real leadership will reinstate the secret ballots that are allowed under the Protection Act.
- Proper Notice Should Be Given to Potential Candidates. The Protection Act requires proper notice to be given to all homeowners soliciting potential candidates for service on the Board. Despite our Nominating Committee’s extraordinary efforts seeking candidates, the property management agent sent out a notice that failed to provide the date and procedures for nominations from the floor. Although this critical mistake was pointed out in early April, it was never corrected.
For the current election, given the existing situation, homeowners must be content to select among the candidates responding to the call. For future elections, the good work of our Nominating Committee will not face outside neglect in the nominating process. Real leadership will comply fully with the Protection Act’s requirements for soliciting candidates for office.
- Homeowners Should Be Assured of Receiving Proper Proxies and Ballots. In our most recent previous election, the property management agent failed to distribute proper ballots, necessitating a confusing second mailing. More recently in a separate incident, the property management agent incurred a serious privacy breach in its distribution of confidential information via a new website, again necessitating a confusing second mailing. With zero responsiveness to homeowner concerns, we have been given no assurances or safeguards to protect against similar mistakes in the mailings for the coming election.
For the current election, given the existing situation, homeowners must carefully inspect the proxy forms and ballots that are provided for the current election and should quickly inform the Board of any problems. For future elections, the good work of our Nominating Committee will not be disrupted by mismanagement of ballot distribution. Real leadership will insure the credibility of elections with reliable voting communication procedures.
- Homeowners Should Be Guaranteed a Fair and Credible Vote Tally. At our most recent Board meeting, the property management agent needed to be publicly corrected regarding the Protection Act’s provision granting each candidate the right to have an observer at the vote tally. And despite the numerous mistakes and misinformation by the property management agent, comments made by the president in recent forums leave unclear the degree of direct involvement of the property management agent in the vote tally process: as is proper, the property management agent should have only a single observer without further control over our election.
For the current election, each candidate – whether or not in a contested position – should insist on having an observer at the tally. For future elections, the sound work of our Nominating Committee will not be threatened by confusion in the tally room procedures. Real leadership will fully preserve the integrity of the election process through the announcement of the vote results.
Clean and fair elections are among our democracy’s most sacred traditions. Our Nominating Committee has faithfully performed its duties serving that tradition. Real leadership should be promptly responsive to homeowner concerns, unequivocally responsible for legally guaranteed protections, and fully supportive of Nominating Committee efforts to give us the future promised by clean and fair elections.