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Secret Ballot Motions – How to Make Your Vote Count

Did you know that the decision-making process of Bodies Corporate doesn’t always have to be made in full public view? Sometimes a secret ballot is just the thing to guarantee that every member gets their say on a motion without the possibility of offending a neighbour with a conflicting view of the matter being decided. A secret ballot is a way of deciding a motion at a General Meeting and is used for deciding votes either by a requirement of the Act or by choice of the Body Corporate. This form of voting is designed to conceal the identity of the voter and allows for the voting members to vote without fear of prejudice, influence or retribution from opposing voting members or audiences. In simple terms, it allows everyone to cast a vote without anyone else knowing how they voted. The process involved in secret ballot voting must be clearly understood and followed in order to make sure your vote is deemed valid. Secret ballot motions are contained within the Notice of Meeting and require clear instructions on how you can vote effectively. Your voting paper will need to be completed in full and must clearly show how you voted in order for it to be deemed valid. After completion it should be placed in a verification envelope with all details completed in full and submitted to the Returning Officer. Below we have provided more information on how to make sure your secret ballot vote counts:

• A voter for a general meeting of a Body Corporate is an individual whose name is entered on the Body Corporate’s roll as: the owner of a lot; or
– the representative of the owner of a lot; or
– who is a corporate owner nominee; or
– who is a subsidiary scheme representative

• An individual may receive the displacement or disentitlement of right to vote if:
– A voter does not have the right to exercise a vote on a motion (other than a motion for which a resolution without dissent is required) if the owner of the lot owes a Body Corporate debt in relation to the lot at the time of the meeting

– A mortgagee in possession claims, by written notice to the secretary, the right to vote for a lot
• You can provide the secret ballot paper to the appointed Returning Officer – either by post, or by handing it to the Returning Officer at the meeting
• A secret ballot paper is not invalid if the voter chooses to identify themselves – if an owner does not want to protect their identity then that is their prerogative
• A poll vote cannot be called for a secret ballot

This article was contributed by Kim Cullen. Kim has 15 years of extensive experience within the Strata Management industry. She has spent 7 years with the Archers team as a Senior Body Corporate Manager and Office Manager. Prior to establishing her Strata credentials, Kim spent 10 years within the insurance and accounting industries.

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  1. Debra Franklin

    can a person make a motion and vote on their own motion in a church board

    1. Smart Strata

      Hi Debra and thanks for your comment. We suggest you review the legislation applicable to the meeting type you are seeking the information on as this article related to Bodies Corporate only. Thanks.