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Electronic Meetings and Voting in the Age of COVID

Strata communities across Australia are adopting technology to help them meet their needs to run the meeting in the modern world that has also been accelerated by COVID-19 physical distancing requirements. The use of electronic voting technology is also in anticipation of long awaiting legislative changes to modernise strata laws in QLD and when compared to outdated meeting procedures currently in place, these changes simply make sense.

 

The uptake of online meetings and electronic voting was previously considered optional, however, it is now part of the way strata scheme meetings need to be run because of the Covid pandemic. So given that electronic voting and virtual meetings are destined to be part of ‘a new normal’, what does this mean for you as an owner and what will change?

 

We all know it’s not always easy to attend a strata meeting – whether it is because you live overseas or interstate, or because you are time poor or simply due to social distancing measures. By offering the ability to participating in meetings and voting through a combination of methods (including in person, via video conferencing or through electronic voting) these barriers are removed leading to greater participation and efficiency. This also means there is an increased ability to gain a better understanding of the issues facing the strata community for committee members and owners.

 

First though, we need to differentiate the 2 new methods of meeting participation which is video conference and electronic voting as these are 2 distinctly different things. Video conferencing allows the meeting participants the ability to communicate with each other from a distance and in some instance such as committee meetings, also make decisions. Electronic voting is however a prescribed method for making decisions for instances when a decision cannot be made via video conference such as general meetings.

 

These 2 methods can be used in a combination depending on the meeting type to overcome the new social distancing barriers and need to be understood to be fully utilised. The following table provides an overview of meeting types and methods available to keep holding meetings while observing responsible social distancing:

 

Meeting Type    Video/Tele Conference Electronic Voting
Committee Yes No
Vote Outside Committee (VOC) No Yes
Annual General Meeting Yes Yes
Extraordinary General Meeting Yes Yes

 

You will see from this table that video conferencing is an option for all meetings except VOC as this is not an actual meeting being held and is simply voting on motions. General meetings can use video conferencing however the method of voting cannot be over video conference so electronic voting is the most efficient option given that only the motions on the agenda can be decided. Committee meetings have an agenda, however as the motions are not predetermined to allow electronic voting, only video conferencing can be used to communicate the decision made at the meeting and record these decisions in the meeting minutes.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Electronic meetings and voting are here to stay and if it isn’t already part of your meetings, it will need to be in the not too distant future. The benefits these meeting options deliver include efficiencies, owner inclusion and social responsibility which far out way the alternative of either not holding meetings or continuing in breach of social distancing requirements. To learn more, click HERE to register your interest in attending a demonstration of electronic voting in the near future.

 

This article was contributed by Matt Larwood, General Manager – Stratavote

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  1. Robert Cartledge

    A very timely article.
    I am very interested in attending a demonstration of electronic voting.