Kathleen Sutherland
Director of Training and Technical Services
Q.  What is a Proxy? 
      Is it the same thing as a ballot?

A.  A Proxy form is used when an owner will not attend a meeting.  It helps establish a quorum, and may be a way for the owner to cast a vote.  The term “Proxy” is also used to designate the person who will vote on your behalf or at your direction.

The ballot is the form used to cast a vote, which may be for an open Board position, or an issue that owners must vote on.  

If you plan to attend a meeting, do not complete or sign a Proxy form.  If someone contacts you and asks you to sign a Proxy form, tell them that you plan to attend the meeting, and will cast your vote then.  

Cast your own vote when you can and use a Proxy form only when you cannot.

Q.  How many different types of proxies are there?

A.  We use three types of proxy forms. All three forms of Proxies are used to help establish a quorum.

Read the Proxy form to determine what it is for, as described below.  Never let anyone tell you a Proxy is for one purpose when it says it’s for another. 

General Proxy
This authorizes someone to vote on your behalf, so that person makes the voting decision - not you. Do not give anyone a General Proxy to cast your vote unless you trust that person to make a decision that you will be happy with. A General Proxy gives someone the right to cast your vote however he/she wants. This is the most commonly used Proxy form.

Directed Proxy
This authorizes someone to vote on your behalf but, unlike the General Proxy, it tells that person how you want him/her to vote: for a particular candidate, or in favor of or against a particular issue.

Attendance Proxy
This does not authorize anyone to vote for you.  The Attendance Proxy (also referred to as a Quorum Proxy) simply counts you as “present by Proxy” in order to help obtain a Quorum.  Most By-laws state that a certain number of owners must be present in person or by Proxy before any official business can be conducted at the meeting, such as an election or a vote on an amendment. That minimum number of owners is the Quorum.  

By filling out and signing an Attendance Proxy, the only thing that you are doing is to help establish a Quorum so business can proceed.  

No one votes with an Attendance Proxy. 

Q.  Are there any exceptions to using a proxy?

A.  Proxies can be used to establish a quorum unless prohibited by the governing documents.