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What are my individual rights as to rescinding a ballot signed for the purposes of recalling condominium directors?

Issue: I was asked to sign a recall ballot to recall two of the five directors in our condominium. The individual soliciting ballots told me that my signature would not effectuate their removal, but merely trigger a meeting at which the directors would have to answer tough questions from the membership. I am now being told that I signed a recall agreement and that my ballot was served on the condominium along with ballots signed by a majority of the other owners. I only wanted these directors to answer my questions, not be recalled from the Board. I have told the Board that I was tricked into signing the ballot. Can my vote be rescinded?

J.T., Naples

Answer: Without getting bogged down in the details of recall, your question highlights two issues. The first is whether you can rescind your vote. Unfortunately, Florida law provides that you must deliver your rescission to the Board prior to service on the Board. Specifically, the Florida Administrative Code provides “any rescission or revocation of a unit owner’s written recall ballot or agreement must be done in writing and must be delivered to the board prior to the board being served the written recall agreement.” Thus, if the ballot has already been served, your rescission is not effective despite your intentions.

The second is whether the recall is valid despite the misrepresentations made to you. Florida arbitration cases state that owners are presumed to have knowledge of the contents of what they sign and should seek clarification or refuse to sign if the owner is unsure of its contents. The unfortunate reality is that your signature will likely be counted despite any misleading statements soliciting your signature.