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Election Inspectors: Counters Or Counterinsurgents?

Ever wonder why lots of shareholders don’t always come away from elections in High Rise Society with a warm comfy feeling?  Here’s an example – a resolution proposed a while back by a board member of a co-op that has cumulative voting.

RESOLVED, that inspectors of the election of directors at the annual meeting are hereby instructed to require that ballots executed by proxies be accompanied by a proxy form signed by the shareholder which names the candidate or candidates for whom the proxy is authorized to vote and, where multiple candidates are named on the proxy form, the votes on the ballot are to be divided equally among all candidates so named; and

RESOLVED, that shares represented by properly executed proxy forms which do not name the director candidates for whom the proxy is authorized to vote may be counted for quorum purposes only.

So what’s the problem?

Election inspectors are essentially high class bean counters.  Think of those guys in the dark suits from PricewaterhouseCoopers who tallied the votes at the Academy Awards last night.  They have to count the votes under a system set by the Academy like one used to elect members of Congress. They can’t on their own change to a method used to elect the Russian Parliament.

It’s the same thing in High Rise Society – sort of. The people who count the votes at your annual meeting are usually representatives of the building’s management company or in case of a hotly contested election an outside independent service. Either way, under the law basically all they can do, like the Pricewaterhouse guys, is check to see that a proxy or ballot is valid, and if it is, count it under the system established by your building.

But this resolution would let the bean counters effectively change from the U.S. to the Russian system without you having any say. Under cumulative voting in effect in this building, shareholders can vote all their shares for a single candidate, which is a way to help minority candidates get elected. But this resolution would turn that system on its head, empowering inspectors to require residents to split their vote equally among candidates if they want their ballot to be counted – not something they have authority to do.

On top of that the resolution would direct that proxies specifically name the candidates who must be voted for, even though there is no such requirement.  Anyway it’s practically impossible. As anyone who’s ever attended an election in High Rise Society knows, half the time candidates don’t announce they’re running till the last minute

So what happened? The resolution didn’t pass, but it came close, which is pretty scary because it’s the kind of maneuver that might be used to “elect” representatives of a Banana Republic, but should make you very nervous if that’s how your leaders get on board.

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One Response to “Election Inspectors: Counters Or Counterinsurgents?”

  1. mike says:

    a couple of us original owners are wondering how it was changed to this new type. we think in was changed in the last 2 years.
    the proxy states
    “each shareholder present in person or by proxy is entitled to vote each share registered in his or her name. The total number of shares per apartment may be voted for each candidate selected , but no more than four (4) candidates may be voted for. You may not divide your shares or accumulate your shares.

    i checked the by-laws and they state each share= one vote, we never had a special meeting, and the building was converted in 1983. a couple of the original owners remember the one viote per share, wondering how i would contest this.
    if i wanted to videotape the annual meeting would i be with in my shareholders rights? Last year got pretty nasty, on the dais side.
    if i am verbally attacked , i want a record, or physical attack

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