Why the 2021 election is so important – and why you need to participate

By Candace Robertson, POA Board President

In every election season, you always hear from the Board that casting your ballot is more important than ever. This year, we are not only filling two Board seats in advance of addressing significant infrastructure needs and amenity upgrades, but we also are voting on important By-Laws amendments.

Those Amendments, if approved, would save the POA money by adopting electronic voting, enhance the future pool of eligible Board candidates, simplify the voting process, and allow for the Board to more easily conduct day-to-day business.

But none of that will happen unless two-thirds of all eligible voters cast a vote.

In other words, out of over 3,400 owners, slightly more than 2,300 must participate in the election and vote “yes” for an Amendment to be approved. If we fall one single vote short of reaching that threshold, that Amendment will fail.

The POA and the Board are so committed to getting out the vote that we have organized a $1,000 raffle for everyone participating – something we regard as no less than an important investment in the future of Big Canoe.

When it comes to the Board candidates, Elton Gogolin, Tim Moran and Jill Philmon offer a diverse range of perspectives and experience that would serve the Board well. The importance of selecting the right people for the Board cannot be understated.

But the long-term implications of making the right choice regarding the Amendments are just as urgent, starting with the first proposed Amendment, which would allow the Big Canoe electorate to vote electronically. If we made the switch, we would potentially save more than $8,000 per election based on the combined cost of clerical, printing and postage expenses. With the three elections we had in 2020, the final bill came to about $25,000.

And remember: If this Amendment passes, anyone who prefers to continue receiving a paper ballot doesn’t have to do a thing – they will keep getting the printed ballots via U.S. mail. Only those voters who choose to opt in to electronic voting would get their ballots via email.

That investment in the future also applies to the human capital in the case of experienced, seasoned individuals who can bring a wealth of knowledge to the Board. The second amendment would enlarge the candidate pool by allowing a spouse whose name is not on the deed to run and serve on the board. Individuals often exclude their name on a deed for, among other reasons, estate planning. Meanwhile, the sixth amendment to the By-Laws would allow part-time POA employees who own property in Big Canoe and have no employee reporting to them to also run for office.=

As they are currently written, the By-Laws are restrictive when it comes to the overall eligibility of who can run for the Board. Think of all the collective experience, professional know-how and intimate knowledge of the POA’s inner workings that currently is left on the table according to existing By-Laws. If just these two amendments passed, we would immediately have an even greater selection of qualified individuals eligible to lead the community.

All of these important decisions come at an exciting time. As Big Canoe readies for its 50th birthday celebration, we’ll soon be hearing the Strategic Planning Committee’s recommendations, based on the findings of the recent Property Owners survey, that will include an updated Mission Statement and refined strategic initiatives. This will inform the POA decisions for major upcoming projects, a wide range of projects involving, among other things, the Postal Facility, the Clubhouse and the administrative offices.

With so much at stake, and with the prospect of expanding participation by both voters and candidates, what better time is there to weigh in and have your say by voting?

Ballots go out to Property Owners by U.S. mail no later than Monday, Nov. 8. Completed ballots must be received by Mauldin & Jenkins Accounting no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1. Winners of the election will be announced at the Big Canoe Annual Meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4. For more election information, go to the POA website at bigcanoepoa.org.

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