What is a majority vote?

Dear Tony: Our strata manager says that for a majority vote to pass, we require 50 per cent of the voters plus one. At our AGM 27 owners voted on the budget. Fourteen were in favour and 13 were opposed. We declared that it passed, but according to our manager it would be 50 per cent of 27, equals 13.5, plus one, which would be 14.5, so it would have to be 15. Can you clear this up?

Hazel Muir

Dear Hazel: Your question is timely. In our industry, misinformation travels like wildfire, and we have just discovered this error posted on a blog site.

The Strata Property Act sets out the definition of a majority vote as a resolution by more than “half of the votes” cast by eligible voters present at the time the vote is taken who have not abstained from voting. As with three-quarter votes, only those votes in favour or opposed are used in calculating the result of the vote. In your strata where 14 were in favour and 13 opposed, the resolution did pass by majority vote. More than half of the votes cast for or against the resolution, without abstaining, voted in favour.

At an AGM of a strata corporation with mixed use, which includes commercial strata lots, the voting results will likely be portions as most commercial strata lots are allocated a different voting formula than residential strata lots. For the same voting results where 27 votes were cast and 13.5 is the majority, if commercial voting was considered and the result was 13.7 votes were in favour, and 13.3 votes against, this vote would also satisfy the requirements of a majority. Obviously, 50 per cent plus one cannot be applied in all circumstances because of the broad voting variations. Fifty per cent plus one is used generically so we understand that residential voting of one vote per strata lot implies a portion of the vote is not sufficient.

Strata corporations should always have a copy of the schedule of unit entitlement, voting entitlement and your bylaws at general meetings. To ensure you have calculated votes correctly, it is beneficial to count the votes whenever they are taken, and record those results. If an eligible voter requests an exact count or a secret ballot, they should make the request before the vote is called.

Decisions that are “re-voted” at general meetings make our proceedings questionable and vulnerable to disputes.

Source: The Victoria Times Colonist




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