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The letter below was sent to our Board on June 17, 2014. This letter presents problems with our proxies which ought to have been addressed prior to the certification of our election results two days later.




June 17, 2014

 

 
 

Dear Board of Directors:

While we've made great strides in recent years with regard to our Election Process, it seems we may be backsliding to the kind of problems that have characterized our past elections. I am writing to warn that this must not happen.

This year’s first major error was that multiple proxy ballots were mailed to shareholders with breakthrough apartments. This mistake had been made in previous years – how could our Election Chair and General Manager not catch it? Upon realizing this error, Kate Nammacher sent out a message saying:

“Breakthroughs did mistakenly get a proxy for each apartment. Election America now has the corrected list and on the back end knows which apartments are linked. A communication will be going out soon to those with breakthroughs to clarify the situation.”

I have no way of knowing whether “the corrected list” was sent to Election America, but I know that the promised communication to Shareholders with breakthoughs DID NOT go out!

Furthermore, there is evidence that Election America STILL did not have proper Shareholder lists – early on election day, at least two Shareholders were improperly turned away! (It turns out that Election America’s list included only one name for each apartment; this problem was reported at about 7am and was remedied by about 8am.) How could our Election Chair and General Manager not catch this in advance?

Now there is uncertainty about proxy receipts. I know two people who voted by proxy ballot on or about June 5. One voted by paper ballot and received a receipt in the mail on June 13. The other voted online and, as of this writing (evening of June 17), has not received a receipt. One would expect that sending receipts for paper and online ballots would follow the same time-table! To investigate this, I tried to call Election America, using the phone number they included on the receipt for the paper proxy ballot. Wrong number! So I called the number printed on the memo that was distributed on a memo from our Board. I left a message this morning, and did not receive a response by the close of business today.

I totally appreciate that our volunteer Directors apply their “best efforts” to conducting our Co-op’s business, and also that “honest mistakes” can be made. But this litany of errors rises to the level of incompetence. This lack of process invites fraud! We face problems in our elections year after year, and I can no longer accept that our process is still characterized by such a lack of diligence. I hereby challenge any of our Directors to respond to the following essential questions:

At what point were receipts to be sent – upon receipt of the ballot by Election America or upon the votes being included in the official tally?
How many receipts should be received by people who submitted more than one ballot (ie, one paper and one online)? If more than one, what indication will there be that only one ballot was counted?
Will people still receive receipts if they overrode their proxy ballot in a voting booth?
Some shareholders with breakthroughs will be using multiple ballots (at a minimum, I asked some to do so for control purposes); how many receipts should these Shareholders receive?

Our Directors receive their mandates through our elections, and the decisions they make touch upon every facet of living here. The results of past elections have turned on a single vote. It is wholly unreasonable for our elections to be riddled with irregularities year after year. So, I call for all our incumbent and incoming Directors to be on notice: each of you has the fiduciary obligation to see that our present election is completed properly and that our future elections are planned and executed in a thorough, robust and diligent manner.

Sincerely,

Dan Strum
Director, SPBuzz.org





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