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Are Absentee Ballots Required?

Hi Dennis,
Neither our association’s declarations nor bylaws require absentee ballots for annual member meetings or special meetings. But, it appears that 33-1812(A) requires the use of absentee ballots in addition to ballots cast in person at a meeting, as follows:

“The Association shall provide for votes to be cast in person and by absentee ballot and, in addition, the association may provide for voting by some other form of delivery, including the use of e-mail and fax delivery.”

It appears to me that Arizona law requires that Associations send ballots to all members of the Association.

With respect to “Annual Meetings” and also “Special Meetings” of the Members of an Arizona Planned Community, is the Association required to provide absentee ballots to all members of the Association?

2 Responses

  1. Dennis Legere

    Mike;
    You are absolutely correct, in this case the Arizona State Law trumps the lack of guidance in your community documents. The language in the law has an “and” between the in person and the absentee ballots. The language added relative to other forms of delivery are not a substitute for the first two but rather alternatives to snail mail in absentee ballots. This will apply to all votes requiring action from the members or unit owners. The absentee ballots also count toward satisfying the quorum requirements for the meeting.
    So to your specific question; are associations required to provide absentee ballots to all members prior to a meeting to vote on an issue, the answer is yes.
    I will also note that based on a revision to the language to the open meeting laws that I introduced and got passed in 2017 all votes required from the members must be taken at a meeting of the members called for that purpose. The language change was to the public policy statement in the open meeting laws that specified that members must be allowed an opportunity to speak on an issue prior to any vote on that issue by the members. The only way for that to happen is to have that vote at a meeting of members. Those members not wishing to attend the meeting or speak on the issue must be given an opportunity to vote on the issue via absentee ballot.

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