Your upcoming annual homeowners’ meeting is likely to be lively. A number of homeowners plan to collect proxies, and a bylaws amendment and a budget issue are on the agenda. As the president, you’re worried about how much time it will take during the meeting to hold votes on these issues:

Will voice votes be accurate if several members hold proxies? And what if members make motions or amendments I didn’t anticipate? In that case, pre-printed ballots won’t save time and will take a long time to count, wasting precious meeting time. As chair, what are my options for taking accurate, fair votes when some members hold proxies?

Parliamentary Tip: Voting cards are a simple technique to help hold more accurate votes in large meetings — not board or committee meetings — on matters that do not need to be done by secret ballot (remember that Colorado law requires contested board elections to be done by secret ballot). Voting cards are also a handy solution to the problem of one unit with several owners, or several residents who’d like to vote even if they’re not owners.

Voting cards are simply uniform colored pieces of paper or cardboard issued at check in by the secretary or manager, one per unit. Anyone holding a valid proxy is entitled to a voting card for that proxy. When calling for a vote the chair should use the following script:

  • Chair: “Everyone in favor of the motion please raise your voting cards.”
  • Voters with more than one voting card should hold them up like, well, cards, so the chair can easily see them.
  • Chair: “Voting cards down; all opposed to the motion, please raise your voting cards.”

As with any other method of voting, if after the vote the chair is in doubt of the outcome, then he or she should retake the vote immediately. If necessary, the chair can use a more accurate (and usually more time-consuming) method of voting, such as making an exact count.

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