The passing of HB 791 has ushered community associations into the future by allowing investors and owners to vote electronically; however, this change has not come without challenges. Vetting vendors, whose services comply with the new law, will not be an easy process for Association Managers. While the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Division of Condominiums moves to create a certification process for providers, Associations will have to take into consideration compulsory conditions if they decide to review vendors before a certification process is put into place.
Security and voter identification are at the forefront of this issue. Not all electronic voting service providers will comply with the laws set forth in HB 791. Because the proxies and ballots contain sensitive information, the utmost care must be taken to keep the contents, as well as the identities of the voters, secure.
When vetting providers and systems, should you choose to do so, remember that any system chosen is required to:
- Authenticate the identity of the voter.
- Ensure the vote was not compromised.
- Send a receipt to the voter.
- Allow the voter to remain anonymous.
- Make the vote accessible for future record inspections.
Remember, transferring to electronic voting will be a lengthy process that will not fully replace, nor be the answer to all your community association voting woes. However, in time it will prove to be very helpful for your association’s owners and investors.
If your association is thinking about making a transition to electronic voting, seek counsel from your association attorney. We can review the providers and services you’re considering and ensure that they are HB 791 compliant.