VOTING BY COMPUTER --- LET THE GAMES BEGIN
Eric Glazer, Esq.
Published June 29, 2015
You have all heard the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix
it.” Apparently, The Florida Legislature overlooked this
concept when it recently passed a bill which authorizes owners
in community associations to vote by e-mail in their elections
and for other unit owner votes.
In condos, H.O.A.s and co-ops, the association may now conduct
elections and other unit owner votes through an internet-based
online voting system if a unit owner consents, in writing to
online voting and if the following requirements are met:
1. The association provides each unit owner with:
(a) a method to authenticate the unit owner’s identity to the
online voting system.
(b) For elections of the board, a method to transmit an
electronic ballot to the online voting system that ensures the
secrecy and integrity of each ballot.
(c) A method to confirm, at least 14 days before the voting
deadline, that the unit owner's electronic device can
successfully communicate with the online voting system.
2. The association uses an online voting system that is:
(a) Able to authenticate the unit owner's identity.
(b) Able to authenticate the validity of each electronic vote to
ensure that the vote is not altered in transit.
(c) Able to transmit a receipt from the online voting system to
each unit owner who casts an electronic vote.
(d) For elections of the board of administration, able to
permanently separate any authentication or identifying
information from the electronic election ballot, rendering it
impossible to tie an election ballot to a specific unit owner.
(e) Able to store and keep electronic votes accessible to
election officials for recount, inspection, and review purposes.
Finally…..To initiate this process, a resolution of the Board of
Directors is required.
I’m no computer whiz, but I’m real curious as to how
the association is going to create a system where an owner’s
identity must be authenticated, the owner is entitled to a
receipt, yet somehow the owner’s ballot cannot be identified as
coming from that owner and in addition somehow the owner’s vote
has to be stored so that it can later be used as evidence in
recall proceedings and for election officials.
Not surprisingly, the Department of Business and
Professional Regulation has yet to devise an actual way to put
the statute into practice. I believe they are actively working
with NASA and Bill Gates and we should expect an update
I know of no municipal, county, state or federal election that
allows you to vote on the internet. The reason is pretty
simple. There is too much room for internet fraud in the voting
process and there is simply no way to guarantee secrecy and
accuracy in the voting process. Instead of staying that course,
The Florida Legislature went the other way and basically said
“Let’s make Florida community associations the guinea pig and
allow their elections to be subject to internet fraud.”
The excuse for allowing internet voting is that often times
people are not at home during the election process. So what?
That’s why every state allows for absentee ballots that can be
mailed in. That is already allowed in our Florida elections in
condominiums and in HOAs where unit owners can give another
owner their proxy if they can’t make it to the election meeting.
By the way……who verifies that the system that must be in place,
is actually put into place? If a Board member says he devised
such a magical system that complies with the statute, do we take
his or her word for it? Even if the internet votes are sent to
an e-mail address that he or she controls? Even if he or she is
running for the Board at the moment?
There were other important issues to address this past
legislative session in our Florida community associations. The
Florida Legislature could have passed legislation that allowed
the DBPR to assist HOAs, strengthened the HOA election process
to allow voting by mail or even ensured that funds paid to the
Condo Trust Fund by condo owners don’t get stolen and swept into
the General Revenue Fund. Instead, there was this mistaken
belief that allowing voting by internet would make voting easier
in your association. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m thinking that
come election time, a fiasco awaits.
HOA & Condo Blog
Eric Glazer graduated from
the University of Miami School of Law in 1992 after
receiving a B.A. from NYU. He has practiced community
association law for more than 2
decades and is the owner of Glazer
and Associates, P.A. a seven attorney law firm with offices in
Fort Lauderdale and Orlando and satellite offices in Naples,
Fort Myers and Tampa.
Since 2009, Eric has been the host
of Condo Craze and HOAs, a weekly one hour radio show that airs
at noon each Sunday on 850 WFTL.
He is the first attorney in the
State of Florida that designed a course that certifies
condominium residents as eligible to serve on a condominium
Board of Directors and has now certified more than 10,000
Floridians all across the state. He is certified as a Circuit
Court Mediator by The Florida Supreme Court and has mediated
dozens of disputes between associations and unit owners. Eric
also devotes significant time to advancing legislation in the
best interest of Florida community association members.