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VM Elections: Why Not Run?

Following the Sept. 11 WCA Board elections, a number of residents asked what was involved in running for their neighborhood’s voting member position. To help answer their questions, WOW has put together the following questions and answers.

What is the Voting Member and what do they do?

The voting member is your neighborhood’s voting representative at the association’s VM meetings. Each Westchase village has neighborhood committee consisting of one VM and, ideally, at least two alternates, who step in to attend meetings when the VM is unavailable.

VMs have two major responsibilities. They elect the Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board of Directors and can remove them. They also vote on all changes to Westchase’s rules in the community’s governing documents.

What is the time commitment?

A VM’s term is two years. VMs generally meet once monthly on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. In recent years, the meetings typically run only an hour—outside of board elections and a few meetings where they undertake review of proposed rules changes every other year.

Some VMs go beyond this, attending WCA board meetings (held once monthly). Others serve as their neighbor’s communicator of WCA business and general go-to person with neighborhood issues and gatherings. This is entirely voluntary and is up to each VM.

Do VMs have to attend every VM meeting?

No. If a VM has a conflict, s/he can ask their alternates to attend the meeting in their place. The Westchase documents, however, do automatically remove a VM whose neighborhoods have multiple consecutive absences or more than a certain number of absences each year. This, however, rarely occurs.

Do all villages have VM elections every year?

No. Each year half of Westchase villages elect their VMs.

Which Westchase villages have VM elections this year?

Abbotsford, The Bridges, Glencliff, The Greens, Harbor Links/The Estates, Keswick Forest, The Shires, Stamford, Woodbay and Wycliff.

Can WCA Board members still serve as their neighborhood VM?

Yes. There is no rule against the same person serving as VM and a WCA Director. It strikes some folks as odd because the VMs vote for the WCA Board and those VMs get to vote for themselves when running for the board.

This dual service often happens because no one else steps forward in the neighborhood to run.

How do I run for VM?

The first step is emailing (a phone call won’t work!) the WCA Manager Debbie Sainz at manager@wcamanager.com with your name and address by Oct. 15 and requesting that your name be placed on the neighborhood proxy card. The candidates’ names are listed in alphabetical order with some blank lines beneath for write-ins. The WCA will then mail out the proxy cards to your village on or just after Nov. 1. Enough signed proxy cards must be returned by Nov. 30 for the election to count.

If I miss the Oct. 15 deadline, can I still run?

Yes, but it’s harder to win this way. Each proxy card has blank lines for write ins. You can go around your neighborhood and ask your neighbors to write in your name and vote for you.

How many proxy cards are needed for it to be a legit election?

To make the election valid, a quorum of proxy cards or residents must be present at your village’s annual meeting in December. A quorum represents one-third of the homes in your neighborhood. If a neighborhood does not meet the quorum at the annual meeting, the neighborhood has 30 more days to reach a quorum. If it still misses quorum in 30 days, the existing VM continues in his/her position.

There are multiple names on my proxy. How do they determine who becomes VM?

The person with the most votes becomes VM, with alternates listed in descending order.

If I want to be VM and I’m running against other folks, how can I make sure I get the most votes?

You can do several things. Each homeowner can vote for up to four people on the proxy. Most homeowners just check them all off. To ensure you are the top vote recipient, you can ask your neighbors to cast only a single vote for you. That single vote will still count.

Second, you should consider finding out when your neighborhood proxy ballots are mailed, then walk your neighborhood, introducing yourself and asking for your neighbors’ votes. You can even have your neighbors fill out their proxy card, sign it and turn it over to you. Each card also has a line granting the VM the right to cast ballots as s/he see fits as the neighborhood proxy. Your neighbors can strike out this name and write in yours instead. Once they sign the card, they grant you the right to vote their votes by proxy.

Keep in mind, the most important thing here: Each neighbor must sign the proxy card and they must be a homeowner. Renters and relatives don’t count. The office checks home ownership.

Can I get extra ballots from the WCA office to walk my neighborhood for votes?

Yes. The WCA office will give you a handful of copies of paper ballots for your neighborhood for neighbors who lost their proxy cards to use. But you may have to make additional copies as needed.

What’s the trick to winning?

The best way to win is to meet and communicate with your neighbors. As you go around, be sure to collect names, emails and cell numbers of each neighbor so you can reach out via email and text regularly once you’re VM. If you don’t have village Facebook page, create one. You can ask your VM to share their email list or include you in a social media post. There are, however, no clear rules regarding their ownership in the WCA documents, so some may refuse to hand over what they’ve collected.

Will I regret serving as VM?

No. It’s actually rewarding. You'll meet a lot of wonderful people who care greatly about the community.

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