In 2017, New Jersey’s legislature amended New Jersey’s Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act, commonly known as PREDFDA. These amendments have been labeled the “Radburn Amendments”. PREDFDA has always been administered by parts of New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs (“DCA”). To that end, DCA has adopted regulations it claims are necessary to “implement” and/or “enable” relevant owners to “more easily and fully comply with” the Radburn Amendments. These regulations will likely be known as the “Radburn Regulations”.
The Radburn Regulations expressly address “board elections” of associations with fewer than 50 units. The Radburn Regulations govern the use of proxies and absentee ballots by these small associations. If the association utilizes proxies, it must contain certain disclosures. An owner can revoke such a proxy prior to the casting of a vote. If the association utilizes proxies, it “must also make absentee ballots available”. Associations consisting of less than 50 units may permit electronic voting so long as the association can “verify the eligibility of the voters” and “count the ballots in a non-fraudulent and verifiable way”. DCA considers the following to be the “non-fraudulent and verifiable way” to count ballots:
- any physical location for ballots must be “secured”;
- ballot “tallying” must “occur publicly, with the ballots “open to inspection” for not less than 90 days from the election’s date;
- ballots must be “cast in an anonymous manner”; and,
- if the bylaws allow, and the particular member agrees, a ballot can be cast “electronically if “it is administered by a neutral 3rd party and anonymity is maintained”.
Because of the Radburn Regulations, associations of less than 50 units must provide a notice of election that includes certain information and be provided within a tight 15-day window. Every owner in “good standing” can nominate himself or another owner in “good standing” to be a candidate for election and “good standing” is the only “criterion” that can be employed concerning a nominee’s eligibility. Owners of these associations must have the chance to review each candidate’s “qualifications”. An association of less than 50 units is not required to allow for “write-in candidates”. Lastly, any owner that the association considers to be not in “good standing” must be notified of that within a specific time frame prior to the election.