The number of people voting in last month’s village elections, while more than the previous year, represented about half of the number of people that could have cast a ballot.
Of the 414 COOCVE director positions representing the buildings in the village, only 218 individuals voted in the January elections for the boards of CVE Master Management, CenClub, and COOCVE. This represents 53% of the total director positions.
Those 218 voters are also less than two percent of the total village population during the winter season. That means less than two percent of the village determined who leads three organizations that spend over $25 million resident dollars each year. These organizations decide how much owners pay in monthly dues. They oversee village safety, entertainment, infrastructure, and recreational amenities. The decisions made by these three organizations directly impact quality of life, personal safety, and property values in the village.
Elections in the village are not held at large, meaning almost none of the 16,000 total residents can vote. Instead, buildings select representatives to vote on their behalf. The representatives, called COOCVE directors, are the only people permitted to vote in village-wide elections.
Representative forms of government are not uncommon. For example, we are all represented by members of the United States Congress. These elected officials, in turn, are expected to represent our interests. Individual citizens do not vote on every piece of legislation. Instead, we empower our legislators to do so. Legislators seek out the views of those they represent and cast votes that represent how the majority of their constituents feel on an issue. When they don’t, the natural political process of elimination solves the problem when they are not re-elected.
Some say a COOCVE director should be striving to represent his or her building by working to determine which candidates the majority of their building (or building board) would like them to support. Most (if not all) of the 218 COOCVE directors cast their votes based on their own personal opinions and predispositions without receiving official direction from the buildings they represent. As a result, 218 individuals decided on behalf of approximately 16,000 residents.
There are approximately 160 million registered voters in the United States. The equivalent would be if the only people choosing the next President of the United States on behalf of the entire country were the registered voters in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.
There are 414 director positions across the village. At the time of last month’s election, 346 of the positions were filled. Finally, of the 346 filled positions, only 218 people voted in the election.
The CVE Reporter has also discovered eight buildings never turned in the required paperwork for their directors. These included Markham A, Newport E, Prescott N, Tilford H, Upminster C, Upminster H, Upminster I, and Ventnor D.
In addition, 28 buildings were completely excluded from the election because they had no designated directors.
Finally, 17 buildings were underrepresented because they had fewer than the maximum allowed number of directors.
COOCVE said it went to great lengths to contact buildings before the election.
“Some associations did not elect the total number of directors they are eligible to have,” said COOCVE. “COOCVE sent several notices to remind the associations they could appoint additional directors, or they could indicate an alternate to vote in the place of a director who isn’t able to vote.”
This year’s turnout was an improvement over the prior year. Last year only one third of the 414 potential directors cast ballots. This was also the first year voting was done exclusively online.
According to COOCVE, “an online voting platform increases the ability of delegates to participate, as they can vote via computers, laptops, or mobile devices, from virtually anywhere.”
For individuals unable to vote online, COOCVE allowed them to vote in person, with their selections being entered into the online system on their behalf.