One of the overlooked effects of the recent Radburn Legislation is that it now provides statutory authority for New Jersey community associations to vote electronically. Specifically, the new law authorizes an association to utilize electronic voting: (1) when the board determines to allow voting by such means; and (2) when an association member consents to casting a vote electronically.
While this issue may not have come up previously in many associations, many states’ non-profit corporate statutes or association enabling statutes do not specifically address and/or authorize the option of electronic voting. In addition, most corporate statutes provide that elections and other action can be taken only at an in-person meeting of members or, if no meeting is to be held, by unanimous consent of the members. For example, New Jersey’s Non-Profit Corporations Act, provides only that elections of trustees may be conducted by mail and the Act authorizes decisions to be made in lieu of an in-person meeting only “if all the members entitled to vote thereon consent thereto in writing.” There is no mention of voting by electronic means.
Again, the new law now specifically authorizes a community association to utilize electronic voting when it complies with the above-mentioned requirements. Please note, however, that electronic voting does not mean that an association or its management can just accept ballots by e-mail. Rather, electronic voting means that ballots are cast on-line or through other electronic means without attending the meeting and delivered directly to an association through a website or other secure service or program prior to the meeting. In essence, it is a secure absentee or mail ballot transmitted electronically rather than by mail, facsimile or hand delivery.
Proponents of electronic voting assert that it can reduce costs of holding an election or voting on a question and, more importantly, increase owner participation in the affairs of an association. Community associations who are interested in considering electronic voting should contact their association’s counsel to discuss options for meeting the new statutory requirements.
For more information on this legislation or any other issue concerning your community association, please contact one of our Community Associations attorneys. For breaking news or updates on new blog posts, follow us on Twitter at: @njcondolaw.