Most non-controversial decisions (if such things exist!) at General Meetings of an Owners Corporation are decided by a “show of hands”. That means that voting is determined by counting how many people vote for or against (or abstain) from a decision. Clause 14 of Schedule 1 of the Act says:
“A motion put to a general meeting of an owners corporation is to be decided according to a majority in number of the votes cast for and against the motion with each person having one vote for each lot in respect of which the person is entitled to vote.”
A poll vote isn’t counted on a “show of hands”, but rather is counted on the “unit entitlement” that each person has in the strata plan. For example, let’s say there are 1000 units distributed between four unit holders but three of the unit holders hold only 235 units each, and you hold 295 units. On a show of hands, you only hold 25% of the vote and wouldn’t be able to block a Special Resolution. On the basis of a Poll Vote you hold 29.5% and would be able to block a Special Resolution.
A poll vote can be demanded by any person present and entitled to vote at a General Meeting of a Body Corporate. In practice all that is necessary is for that person to say they “demand” a Poll Vote.
The demand for a poll vote can be made before or after the vote decided by a majority in number has been taken. It is suggested that if demanded after, practically speaking it should be demanded immediately after.
The demand for a poll vote can be withdrawn by a person who demanded it.
See clause 14 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) Schedule 1.
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