An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. 

August 22, 2006


Election monitors for condominium associations were officially introduced by the Florida legislature in 2004, when it enacted Senate Bills 1184/2984. 

See: 718.5012 (5) + (9)

From Day One it was obvious that establishing the concept of election monitors for associations was really a great move, considering the many election disputes we had seen all over the state.  Frequently, what followed a bitter election was expensive election arbitration that lasted until the next election! 

And we have seen enough examples where the so-called “highly paid experts” failed to do their homework and failed to hold fair elections.

Florida statutes state: "Fifteen percent of the total voting interests in a condominium association, or six unit owners, whichever is greater, may petition the ombudsman to appoint an election monitor to attend the annual meeting of the unit owners and conduct the election of directors."

But not only the condo association members can petition for the appointment of an election monitor! The board can make the outright decision to hire election monitors to conduct and supervise the annual election for the board of directors.

So far, there are only regulations for condominiums -- members of homeowners' associations in Florida are still treated like unwanted stepchildren.  But boards of homeowners' associations can hand over the responsibility of conducting the annual election to specialized monitors, who will hold a fair election and avoid costly litigation that can cost tens of thousands of dollars!

Speaking of cost? 

The Voting Group, LLC. is a specialized firm that has been chosen by Florida's Condo Ombudsman to be the official Election Monitor.  On The Voting Group’s website it features a Price Breakdown that will help you determine the cost, if your association uses its services.

On first view it may appear to be a large sum of money, but please consider that it is a good investment that may pay huge dividends, if it prevents election arbitration. We have seen many associations using the services of their attorneys and management companies.  First, often those professionals charge expensive fees.  Second, many of your neighbors don’t consider them to be neutral -- which may cause them to cry foul anyway and go forward with election arbitration. 

Don't forget:  Passing the exam for the Florida Bar or the CAM license doesn't turn these professionals into association election specialists. 

Since the election regulations for homeowners' associations in FL Statutes 720 are very vague -- to say the least -- we see many annual elections that resemble elections in Banana Republics -- or worse.

Association boards may consider hiring the services of The Voting Group, even without a petition being circulated by the owners.

It's a very good investment in the peaceful, neighborly relationships of your community, especially if there are already rumors of malfeasance and election fraud circulating among your neighbors.

A fair election is a very effective way to guarantee the integrity of your association -- and can save a lot of money and frustration.

Florida's Official



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