Blantant proxy form manipulation
If you think the previous sample of proxy form manipulation was bad,
wait till you read this.
In the information package, the manager lists the candidates that are
running by listing the incumbents first and the challengers at the end.
The same order is followed with the attached resumes.
In Canadian political elections, in order not show a bias, the
candidates are listed in alphabetical order but not in condo elections.
Gaming the proxy
Our municipal elections have advance balloting which is as close to
proxies as we get in public elections and lets look at a trick our
incumbent mayor could be
tempted to use to hang on the office he loves.
Do you think Olivia Chow, John Tory or Karen Stiniz would have approved of
this ballot? How about the average Canadian voter? Don't think so?
The average condo voter, if he or she lived at one Etobicoke condo, may
at home with a ballot like this.
An AGM proxy form
Here is a couple excerpts from the proxy form that was part of the
information package for a AGM that was to be held in Etobicoke on
Thursday 16 January 2014.
There is a line to fill in one candidate's name so there is one opening
on the board and the owners are voting for one of the five candidates
submitted their resumes (included in the AGM package) right?
There are four openings on the seven-position board that the owners were to vote for.
However there are three incumbents, so I assume as a way to greatly
improve their chances of
being re-elected, the incumbents names were typed on the proxy in the
order of one to three.
There is one line—in position number 4— for the voters to write
in a candidate to be selected from the enclosed resumes. (None of the
three incumbents included their resumes with the AGM package.)
Note the "additional names may be added" in smaller print below.
There are no blank lines provided to write in four candidate names and
there is no instructions saying that the voter is permitted to line-out
any of the pre-printed names.
Only one name written in after the printed names will be high enough in
order to win.
Three of the open positions on the board were for three-year terms and
one position was for a one-year term. It is normal for the candidates
getting the highest number of votes being elected for the the longest
term and the one with the lowest number of votes taking the shorter
term. It looks like the three directors were setting themselves up to
get 100% of the proxy votes and the other four candidates would split
the vote for the director position with the one-year term
OOP after the one candidate's name means "owner-occupied position" on
the board of
If you skip ahead to AGM
you will read that when there are two or more open positions on the
board and one of them is to be elected by only the owner-residents,
then there has to
be TWO elections at the AGM.
The president, who has his name printed in the first line on the proxy
form is the one who signed off on the AGM package.
owners and the president distributed leaflets from door to door and
at some units, where they could not slip the paper through the doors,
they left their flyers (total of three) in the door handles. One of the
owners distributed a flyer exposing the proxy form fraud.
Security patrolled the halls removing the owners' leaflets but not the
president's flyer. When asked about it, the president blamed the
property management company. When he was asked who wrote the proxy
form, he said the management did.
Two security guards confirmed that it was management who told them to
remove the owner's leaflets in the doorways but leave the President's
campaign leaflet alone.
A couple of the candidates asked the other owners what they thought
about the proxy form. The problem had to be explained to them. The
owners who had filled out a proxy said that they thought that they
could only vote for one of the candidates that had submitted their
resumes. Other owners had no interest in the elections.
An ex-director said that he was not surprised at the attempt to rig
the election as he said proxy fraud was a control technique when he
served on the board.
When the fraud was explained to the owners, two of the incumbents, who's names were printed on the
proxy form, withdrew from the race.
Finally, one day prior to the scheduled date, the corporation
announced that the AGM was being rescheduled to Wednesday 12 February
The notice states:
"Through inadvertence, it appears
that the proxy
form as sent out could cause some confusion and we want to ensure that
the results of these important elections are not subject to any
scrutiny based on the form."
In other words, they thought that the election results could have been
challenged in court. That was a strong possibility as an owner obtained a legal opinion
from a lawyer experienced in condominium law.
Here is the posted notice:
In the new AGM package, placed in front of the other candidate's
one-page resumes, the president included as his resume, a four-page
election campaign flyer that noted his achievements and denounced
previous boards and the opposition candidates and listed the four
candidates that he urged the owners to vote for.