Amendments to 209.0058 again allow for secret ballots. The Legislature previously banned secret ballots, in the interest of voter security, but once again allows them – subject to new protections for homeowners.
The phrasing is awkward, but generally associations have the right to hold elections or votes either by using ballots that are “in writing and signed by” homeowners (including electronic ballots under 209.00592) OR “cast by secret ballot in accordance with 209.0058(d). (Truly uncontested races don’t need such ballots, acclamation is allowed.)
To use secret ballots, associations “must take measures to reasonably ensure that:
- a member cannot cast more votes than the member is eligible to cast in an election or vote;
- the association counts each vote cast by a member that the member is eligible to cast; and
- in any election for the board, each candidate may name one person to observe the counting of the ballots, provided that this does not entitle any observer to see the name of the person who cast any ballot, and that any disruptive observer may be removed.”
See also 209.00594, as amended by SB 1168, §16, which clarifies the duty for vote tabulators to maintain confidentiality, subject to legal process if a case goes to court.