Why Cumulative Voting Puts Your Association at Risk
If there's a common characteristic shared by communities with a stagnate board of directors and few fresh ideas, it's often cumulative voting.
Cumulative voting allows unit owners to receive as many votes as there are open board positions. The voter may then either give all of his/her votes to one candidate, or distribute them among several candidates.
In effect, a unit owner's vote carries more weight in a cumulative voting system.
One argument for the benefit of cumulative voting is that it ensures minority shareholder representation on an association's board of directors. However, cumulative voting also makes it challenging for new people to get elected because the majority can stack the board with their candidates.
When new people aren't elected, there's little chance for community change. In addition, you'll often see a correlation between cumulative voting and a financially struggling association because the same board has been responsible for decisions year after year.
When cumulative voting is abused, a lack of fresh ideas can lead to diminishing property values.
The practice was banned by the Arizona legislature in 2005. But you can still use cumulative voting if your association's governing documents were written prior to the change in the law or homeowners have declared a desire to use it during meetings. If one person makes a declaration, other people at the meeting are also allowed to use it.
These days, most property managers teach residents that cumulative voting is unwarranted. The only place you sometimes see it is at old condos communities where documents were written in the early 1970s. The practice has withstood several decades because long-time residents often want to keep their allies on the board.