Law Changes Have an Effect, Big and Small, on Associations
Byline: Jordan I. Shifrin
Every year, the Illinois legislature takes up proposed changes to the Illinois Condominium Property Act. Sometimes these changes are mere window dressing and sometimes they have a serious impact on the operation of an association. This year, we have both. The following is a summary of recent legislation that may affect unit owners living in common-interest and condominium associations.
First, the adoption of Public Act 93-0243, revised Section 18(b)(9) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act ("ICPA"), was signed into law recently and will take effect January 1, 2004. Public Act 93-0243 governs the election of the board of directors, codifying the process for mail-in and absentee ballot procedures, which are in use in some associations already. Previously, there were very few guidelines for an association to follow regarding the governance of this type of election. The new legislation provides regulatory guidelines.
Specifically, the revised section provides a board of directors with the authority to restrict the usage of proxies in an election by requiring unit owners to vote by submitting an association- issued ballot in advance, which will be counted at the election meeting. Essentially, absentee-balloting is now permitted. (In the past, proxies had space for "preferences" only.)
In preparing the association-issued ballot, the board must first provide at least 21 days' prior written notice of the inclusion of any candidate's name to be placed on the ballot. Additionally, space must still be reserved on the ballot to insert write-in candidates. Once the candidate application deadline has passed, the association-issued ballot shall be mailed to all unit owners prior to the election meeting. The owners may vote by (1) completing the ballot and mailing it back to the board prior to the election or (2) completing the ballot at the meeting. Any mailed-in ballots received by the association after the close of voting shall not be counted.
Finally, if an owner attends the meeting and elects to vote in person, they can revoke any previously submitted mail-in ballot.
By establishing the slate prior to mailing ballots (even though write-in candidates are permitted), a board can restrict or prohibit nominations from the floor at the election meeting.
All associations should adopt clear and concise rules governing elections, to avoid any confusion which may occur at an annual meeting and reduce the ever increasing number of proxy fights.
To implement election rules consistent with the recent changes, the board must adopt these rules, or an amendment to the declaration and by-laws, at least 120 days prior to an election. …