Electronic voting can promote faster, more accurate voting while encouraging more owners to have their say.
Have you ever seen your body corporate manager shuffling reams of paper at a meeting while they calculate vote tallies and wondered if there isn’t an easier way? Thanks to the new legislation there is, as owners can now approve voting on general meeting motions, including secret ballots, through electronic means.
Like many new developments, electronic voting is simply a transfer of what was once paperwork into something you can manage through your online device. Most owners will be familiar with the advance voting papers that are sent out with general meeting papers and many of you will have printed them off, filled them in and sent out a copy. Electronic voting updates the process so you can log on via the portal, check how you would like to vote and push send.
Plus ça change, you may be thinking but the new capacity has a few important wrinkles that are worth consideration.
Making Voting Easier
As a start point, the measure should make voting easier as there is no need for any printing and postage. This may encourage more people to vote and those votes may start shifting the patterns of decision making.
Assumptions that a motion will pass because it is just the same few people who show up and vote every time may start being eroded. If you are time poor, printing and posting can be a significant barrier to entry, but voting on motions through your phone can be done on the commute to work, or while you are watching TV at night so the non-voters now are really running out of excuses if they want a say in the running of their plan. It will be especially interesting to see if buildings that have a lot of interstate owners will be influenced by this.
Then, online voting should improve accuracy. Not that the counts aren’t accurate at the moment but there is always a degree of human error. And that’s not just on the part of the person counting the votes but also those submitting them – it’s much harder to forget to sign your documents, list your lot number or check every box when there are onscreen prompts to take you through this. Getting the votes online will make it easier to tabulate the count and to know that the votes counted are valid.
Minutes should be easier to produce and owners can have increased confidence in the records created.
Perhaps the extra accuracy and voting will have the most impact on secret ballots which are included in this measure. The process of issuing the ballots can be costly and the management of the voting and counting tortuous. It’s probably not necessary to have as many secret ballots as take place, but if they are going to happen making the system a little less tense to manage can only be a welcome addition.
Tower Body Corporate are recommending that all buildings pass a motion to approve electronic voting and general meetings and are arranging to place motions on agendas for individual buildings as the opportunity arises – probably your next AGM.
Online voting will be conducted through StrataMax you can find out more info on their site.