Q&A: Collecting Proxies

Q Are board members allowed to go door-to-door collecting proxies to vote themselves on the board?

—Officious Officeholders

A “Under applicable law,” says attorney Andrew F. Lampert of the Chicago-based firm Federman Steifman LLP, “a member of a condominium association may vote by proxy unless the bylaws or articles of incorporation of the association expressly prohibit the use thereof (805 ILCS 105/107.50 and 765 ILCS 605/18(b)(9)). To the extent that proxy voting is not prohibited by the association's bylaws, Section 18 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act requires that the bylaws must provide that "any proxy distributed for board elections by the board of managers gives unit owners the opportunity to designate any person as the proxy holder, and gives the unit owner the opportunity to express a preference for any of the known candidates for the board or to write in a name" (765 ILCS 605/18(a)(18)).

“As an initial matter, the language of the Condominium Act implies that proxies are to be distributed solely by the board and not by the individual members. That will ensure the uniformity of the proxy forms and compliance with the Condominium Act. The Condominium Act does not, however, circumscribe who may collect the proxies. Accordingly, a board member is free to go from door-to-door soliciting votes and/or proxies. Of course, any soliciting must be performed in accordance with the rules and regulations of the condominium association and the homeowners should be vigilant about reporting any inappropriate or coercive behavior to the board. Moreover, if an association determines that the soliciting of proxies is creating problems within the condominium, the association may amend the bylaws to prohibit the use of proxies and require that all votes be cast by mail or in person.”