The Dilemma of Quorum

January 2019

Quorum is the minimum number of individuals that must be present at a meeting to make proceedings of that meeting valid. For a condo corporation meeting requiring owner attendance, quorum is the minimum number of owners who must be present in person or through a proxy for the meeting to be valid. The number is typically 25 percent of corporation owners but may vary depending on the purpose of a meeting.

When quorum is not met, a meeting is stopped while an attempt is made to obtain quorum. If quorum cannot be reached the meeting must be adjourned. No vote can be taken and no business transacted without quorum.

Failing to achieve quorum at a condo meeting has repercussions and costs. Meetings are rescheduled and decisions delayed. Information is prepared and posted again or sent out once more. Budgets and building expenditures may not be approved and important projects delayed. Owners attending a terminated meeting become disillusioned and less likely to show up for a subsequent meeting. Failure to achieve quorum at an annual general meeting where new directors are to be elected means existing directors remain in place or risk insufficient directors to form a functioning condo board.

Proxies can be used in an effort to obtain quorum. A proxy is an individual attending a meeting in an owner’s place and representing their interests including casting the owner’s votes. The drawback in this is time and the risk of voting being manipulated through proxies.

Ben Zelikovitz is co-founder of GetQuorum , an online solution for electronic proxies, electronic voting and governance notice distribution. “An electronic proxy and/or voting solution offers a smarter, more elegant and more effective solution to this dilemma of quorum. Meetings are less stressful and move faster. Votes, including those for directors, can be submitted using a computer or smartphone. Results are tabulated and undisclosed until the scheduled meeting. Quorum can be confirmed days in advance of a meeting.”

Voting periods can extend to days or weeks. Any meeting where quorum is not achieved can be cancelled or rescheduled. The need for proxies no longer exists for most situations although they can continue to be used by those preferring to do so. Allowing individuals to vote at their convenience, regardless of time, day and location, over a period of one or more weeks, will nearly always result in greater participation than one where people are expected to appear at a specific location at a stated date and time.

Electronic voting allows every condo owner to cast their vote even when unable to attend a meeting. There is no longer a practical need for most owners to pass along their right to vote. Finally, the risk and cost of failing to achieve quorum is greatly reduced.