Is your association using Internet-based voting?
A woman in line at a grocery store recently complained, “My association is about to require that we vote for new members online. Do they think I’m going to buy a computer just so I can vote?” Fear of electronic voting may not be all that uncommon. The reasons could be a lack of knowledge of computers or other electronic devices or a lack of access to those devices.
Section 720.317 of the Florida statutes provides that associations may conduct elections and other membership votes through an Internet-based online voting system. The good news for the woman at the grocery store is that she doesn’t have to vote over the Internet and an association may not “require” its use. Internet-based online voting may be made available “if a member consents, in writing, to online voting”. Members who do not consent, in writing, to the online voting system may continue to vote the old-fashioned way, by marking a paper ballot.
If an association sets up Internet-based online voting, the it must provide each member with a method to authenticate the member’s identity to the online voting system and provide a method to confirm, at least 14 days before the voting deadline, that the member’s electronic device can successfully communicate with the online voting system.
A member’s consent to online voting is valid until the member opts out of online voting pursuant to procedures established by the board of administration, which must meet requirements found in the statute.
Online voting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who would rather click a mouse to cast their ballot, associations may put an online voting system in place.