QUESTION: One of the owners in our association owns three condominiums and is a member of the board. Is that owner entitled to three votes at board meetings?
ANSWER: Owners of multiple units do not have extra votes at board meetings. By statute, “Each director present and voting at a meeting shall have one vote on each matter presented to the board of directors for action at that meeting.” (Corp. Code § 7211(c).) This principle is also reflected in Robert's Rules of Order (11th ed., p. 407):
ONE PERSON, ONE VOTE. It is a fundamental principle of parliamentary law that each person who is a member of a deliberative assembly [such as a board of directors] is entitled to one--and only one--vote on a question.
Membership Meetings. That vote limitation does not apply to membership meetings. When the membership elects directors, votes for special assessments, amends the CC&Rs, etc., owners of multiple units have one vote per unit/lot owned. Accordingly, the owner of three condominiums/lots gets to vote three times on each issue presented to the membership.
Spouses on Board. That means a husband and wife cannot both vote in a membership election because they are limited to one vote for their membership interest. However, board votes are based on the number of directors on the board. If a husband and wife are both elected to the board, each has one vote when it comes to board issues even though they might together own only one unit/lot.
Amend Bylaws. To avoid potential conflicts of interest of spouses on a board, many associations amend their bylaws to adopt director qualifications that restrict co-owners from serving on the board at the same time.
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