Afternoon Quickie: Preparing for Elections

Elections can be the cause of much anxiety, confusion, and distrust in condominiums, but they don't have to be.  Elections can also derail an AGM quickly if they are not handled properly. Here are my tips to preparing for elections:
  1. Review the by-laws - It is important to review the by-laws to ensure that you are familiar with any requirements for the election of directors in your condominium, such as:
    • Number of directors and term length - 3 or 9 directors? All 1 year terms or rotating 3 year terms?
    • Type of directors - are there positions reserved for voting only by a certain class of owners, such as the owner-occupied position? Or one voted upon only by residential unit owners, or commercial unit owners?
    • Qualifications/Disqualifications - must the directors be owners? Can spouses serve together? Can they have a criminal record?
    • Nominations from the floor -  Can candidates be nominated at the meeting?
  2. Pre-Notice - consider sending a pre-notice to ask people to run for positions expiring at the AGM. The amendments to the Act will make this a requirement so you might as well get in the habit now. It is also a good idea to remind people of any qualifications or disqualifications that the by-laws contain.
  3. Review the Candidates - if a person puts their name forward for election check to see if they satisfy the qualifications in the by-laws. There is no need to embarrass the person at the meeting if they are not qualified (i.e. not an owner). Also, ask the candidates for a short biography to include with the notice of meeting so owners who are not planning to attend can make an informed choice if they vote by proxy.
  4. Proper Notice - make sure the notice of meeting accurately describes the positions to be voted upon. Are there any vacancies to be filled? Are any of the positions the owner-occupied position?
  5. Proxy - include a proxy form with the notice of meeting. The proxy does not have to be one of the ones formerly included in the regulations (unless the by-laws require such), but it must be clear and easy to fill out. List any of the candidates that have put their names forward in alphabetical order or the order in which you received their intention to be a candidate (or any other fair way of listing them).
Preparation is the key to a smooth meeting, especially when it comes to elections and other matters to be voted upon. There is no such thing as over-preparing when it comes to AGMs and owners' meetings. Do you have any tips you'd like to share?