By Rafael Aquino

Published March 3, 2021  


In sunny South Florida, real estate is owned by many as a second or vacation home. Many live in another part of the state, country, or even reside a great deal of time internationally. Regardless of how much time they spend in their South Florida community, they also have a right to have their vote counted. 


This case Eric has presented is indeed an interesting read. Two of my takeaways were that:


1.  Not including an inner envelope does not necessarily disqualify a ballot, and its exclusion is an expression of a waiver of voting secrecy whether the voting individual knew it or intended it or not.


2.     Ballots must be mailed or hand-delivered, but there is not an exclusion as to who can do the mailing or hand delivery


After reading this entire case, something else should be thought about, what went so wrong that it had to be escalated to legal process with the state? And why weren’t precautions taken to avoid this mess?


From a management perspective, these are the best courses of action to take:


1.     Rosters for residents should be up to date with all contact information, including emails.


2.     All legal notices should be sent to all regardless of where they live. Depending on how many owners the association has in this situation, you may need a special distributor to process these mail pieces efficiently.


3.     The association website can also be used to distribute the ballot package through secured login. This will not replace the required legal notice, but it will increase access to services and avoid allegations of improper conduct.


4.     The association should consider unit owner acknowledgment forms to legal notices by email. Using the proper email distribution systems, the association can be left with an audit log of all emails sent, whether they were opened, etc. 


5.     E-Voting is a reality that all associations should consider. It cannot be executed on a whim, and prior steps need to be taken to be a compliant and realistic choice.


6.     A state election monitor should be considered if there is any hint that the election will be controversial in any way. The inclusion of this outside qualified professional adds legitimacy to the process, avoids conflicts over the voting procedure, and has great “optics” for all involved.


7. The association’s attorney should be involved every step of the way if an election will be conducted. The election process should not be underestimated in any way, and compliance issues can arise. Having a legal partner put a second pair of eyes on notices, participating in the meeting, and offering legal expertise is important to have from the beginning.


Elections do not have to be difficult if there is diligent preparation, use of the right tools, and you are partnering with the right management, election, and legal professionals.

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As the Co-Founder and CEO of Affinity Management Services, Rafael P. Aquino leads his team to redefine excellence. They serve community   associations   efficiently

and effectively with dedication and passion. Rafael’s energy and positive spirit is the foundation of Affinity Management Services’ company culture, which instills enthusiasm and excitement when providing expert advice to its board members and relieving the day-to-day burdens of running a community association.


Since 2007, Rafael has developed a work culture that values responsive and high-quality services. He has led his team by following a proactive vs reactive philosophy. The same approach Rafael instills in the day to day operations of each association. Today, Affinity Management Services maintains its success and benefits as a result of the foundation Rafael has built and continues to foster by providing educational seminars, continuing education classes for association managers and board members alike.

Rafael and his team help condominium and homeowners’ associations save money and improve their communities. His calm, personable, and service-oriented nature helps him to establish strong relationships with ease. Rafael is known as a sincere and honest leader who looks out for the best interests of his clients and communities, and he strongly advocates for their needs. His role requires coordination and communication, as such he takes logical and intelligent steps to approach challenges head-on.

As a graduate of Florida International University’s electrical engineering program and a licensed community association manager, Rafael’s education and skills equip him with unique insights to tackle complex problems through critical thinking. He understands how each component within a system works together in order to effectively arrive at solutions, techniques, and conclusions. Therefore, as he manages the multiple challenges of running a community association management company, he understands how each property is its own unique system and tailors’ specific services to assure that all their needs are met.

For more information about Rafael P. Aquino and Affinity Management Services please visit www.ManagedByAffinity.com or call 1-800-977-6279

Doral Office: 8200 NW 41st ST

Suite 200

Doral, FL 33166

Broward Office: 150 S Pine Island RD Suite 300

Plantation, FL 33324

O: 800-977-6279 ● F: 305-325-4053

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