Election Results – Public Record?

By Jan Bergemann

Published November 14, 2014


Never forget, we live in the world-famous state that couldn’t get the national election results correct in the year 2000. We were the laughing-stock of the world!


Now imagine the media would have reported the results of the 2014 election for Florida Governor as follows: Scott won, but that’s all we are telling you because we don’t want to offend and/or shame the loser Crist by publishing the vote count! I betcha, all hell would have broken lose after that announcement!


Why do boards and/or election committees in community associations think that it is absolutely acceptable to do the same after the annual election?

They just announce the “winners” – no election results, no nothing!


I get contacted a lot by candidates who would like to know the exact election results only to be told that the results are secret and will not be revealed because “they don’t want to hurt anyone's feelings.”


Some boards will go even further and disallow owners to inspect the election documents and will use the excuse that the actual results could “leak” out if inspection or copying is allowed.


Let’s face it: We are all adults. Somebody who volunteers to be a candidate for the board of directors should be aware that there is a chance of losing – if the election deck isn’t stacked. And candidates have an interest to know the margin of their loss in order to decide if they could have done better with more effective campaigning and/or if they should try again next year!


And how would anybody know if the results that are used to proclaim the winners are correct? What keeps the people in power from announcing the candidates they personally prefer as the winner?

This announcement method -- like so many other things in our community associations -- doesn’t make any sense, and it’s actually violating the statutes. Election documents are part of the so-called public records and can be inspected or copied by each owner who makes a public record request as required by Florida statutes.


The statutes actually require that all election records, ballots, sign-in sheets, etc. shall be maintained for a period of one year from the date of the election – or after the next annual election has been conducted.


It’s not about hurting anyone's feelings – it’s about violating the law!


Election law in Florida stinks – especially if it comes to elections in homeowners’ associations.

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Jan Bergemann Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice, Florida 's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group. CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in community  

associations. He moved to Florida in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues for his own purposes. End of retirement!


CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in Tallahassee - finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.


The organization has two websites to inform interested Florida homeowners and condo owners:

News Website: http://www.ccfj.net/.

Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.

We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all service providers surely have a different interest! We are trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking in Florida !

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