By Jan Bergemann

Published November 15, 2019


Well, it’s autumn and for most of Florida’s community associations it’s time to hold the annual elections. Actually, not counting the many associations who hold their annual meetings in summer, so they don’t have to put up with the snowbirds.


Let’s be very honest, while condominium associations have to follow pretty strict guide-lines – see FS 718.112 (Condominium Election Process Overview) – in HOAs it’s free for all.


While the motto of general elections in this country is: "VOTE EARLY AND VOTE OFTEN" (no photo ID required), the motto of elections in community associations is: "HOW TO PREVENT OWNERS FROM VOTING" in order to keep the sitting board in power.


In the twenty years I’m now dealing with community association issues I have seen it nearly all – but some boards and managers are still good for surprises when it comes to cheating at elections.


From holding elections in summer without properly informing the snowbirds – including all the folks that are not in permanent residence to not mailing the election info to all owners, especially the ones not living not in the USA, or even filling out the ballots for them – I have seen it all.


The real big one is for HOAs having election nomination committees, stacked with family members and friends of sitting board members (the board appoints the committee members), who then only nominate candidates that are either sitting board members or their “buddies” and only nominating as many candidates as there are open seats on the board. Owners will then only find the names of the “chosen few” on the ballot mailed out to them. And that normally means in our world that these candidates will be elected since the apathy of a wide majority of homeowners don’t really care much about the whole system.


Be vigilant when it comes to voting: Bad boards can ruin the financial welfare of you and your family!




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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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