A Universal Proxy Form for Condominiums
8 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2015
Date Written: April 23, 2015
We condominium owners can ensure that our elected councils loyally serve our community interests, by strengthening the democratic linkage between us and our councils. Among the many possible ways of improving that linkage, this paper considers reforming the proxy voting system (for those jurisdictions where proxy voting is allowed).
Owners could pass a new bylaw specifying the format and contents of the proxy form circulated to all owners in the pre-AGM (Annual General Meeting) information package. We could require that the form include the names of all owners willing to act as proxies, with a check-box by each name. That would make it easy for proxy assigners to select the assignee they prefer, while reducing the effort required for democratic competition among assignees.
We could decrease the risk of proxy abuse still further by keeping each proxy assignment confidential, so that even the assignees wouldn't know which owners selected them to act as proxy. The assigners could send the completed proxy forms to the agent who keeps track of proxies at the AGM. The reason for such confidentiality is the same as for secret ballots -- to prevent improper influence on votes.
This system would reduce the danger of concentrating power in those who might use an uncompetitive proxy process to control many votes. Perhaps more importantly, it would cultivate stronger democratic connections between owners who attend AGMs and those who don't.
Keywords: governance, proxy voting, universal proxy, condominium governance, HOA governance, homeowners association, proxy farming, proxy piling, collective action problem, voters' free rider problem, democracy, secret ballot
JEL Classification: D71, D72, D73, D74, H41, L85
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation