Blank Ballots
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BLANK BALLOTS

QUESTION: If a member sends in a blank ballot, does it count toward quorum?

ANSWER
: All ballots cast count toward quorum. They are "treated as a member present at a meeting for purposes of counting quorum." (Civ. Code §5115(b).) This includes blank ballots. (Robert's Rules, 11th ed., p. 415.) Ballots with invalid write-ins (such as Mickey Mouse, "Remove the Board," etc.) also count toward quorum. If a ballot contains a mix of valid and invalid votes, the valid votes are counted and the invalid ones ignored. (Robert's Rules, 11th ed., p. 416.)

Blank ballots are not counted as yes or no votes. For example, when voting on a special assessment, a majority of a quorum must approve the assessment. In an association of 100 members, a quorum is more than 50, i.e., 51. (Civ. Code §5605(c).) A majority of 51 is 26. If 51 ballots are cast and 10 vote for the assessment and the other 41 do not mark either box yes or no, the vote fails. Ten votes in favor is not a majority. The 41 non-votes do not count as yes votes. For more information, see "Approval Requirements."

Board Votes. Board votes are handled a little differently than membership ballot voting when it comes to abstentions and silent acquiescence.

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