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One To A Customer

This is New York, not Kabul.  You only get to vote once.  I’m sure none of my neighbors would think of pulling the lever twice on any real voting machine, but that doesn’t stop some of them from making up their own rules at when it comes to elections at home.

“Here take my proxy,” Mrs. X thrust a paper into my hand. “I’m going to be away for the annual meeting.

 “Sure,” I said, not clear why she had chosen me.

“I have a proxy from Mrs. X,” a diva from the seventh floor announced to me at the meeting the following week.

“How can you have her proxy, she gave it to me.”

 “What do you mean she gave it to you she gave it to me,” I could see we were headed for trouble.

 “You guys don’t know what you’re talking about,” a brunette with attitude confronted the two of us.  “Mrs. X gave it to me,” we each looked at the other like the woman who’s just discovered her husband has three wives.

Here’s the thing: If you try to vote more than once, you may not get to vote at all.  Because if you give out more than one proxy you have to revoke the prior ones so only the latest counts, and some proxies had the same date and none had been revoked, leaving it to the three of us to fight it out, which for all I know is exactly what Mrs. X had intended, as she lay on a beach on the Riviera sipping a gin and tonic, having the last laugh.

None of us could figure out why we’d she’d entrusted any of us with her vote or who she wanted to vote for. Then people in High Rise Society often cast their ballot for reasons having nothing to do with the candidates’ qualifications – could be the person walks their dogs or plays poker with them or coaches their kid’s soccer team. It’s not like the real world where people focus on the issues – the economy, the war in Iraq, the color of Hillary’s pantsuits – then, come to think of it, maybe it’s exactly the same.

Not just the people, but the proxies cause trouble.  I get calls every year from owners complaining their proxies were tossed out because they were photocopies not originals, or they were blue, not yellow, or they weren’t hand numbered like Chagall lithographs or they didn’t have signed acknowledgements.  None of these reasons is valid because unless expressly specified proxies don’t need to take any particular form.  They don’t even have to be signed originals but can be transmitted via fax, telegram or other electronic device under current law.

If you want to be sure the person you designate votes your way, you can give her a directed proxy specifying who to vote for. Only given how elections work in most buildings half the time no one knows who’s running till the meeting is called to order – and then it’s too late.

We decided Mrs. X either had a loose screw or was out to get us, and not wanting to be participants in election fraud, tossed her multiple proxies in the trash, then cast our ballots – only one each.

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