Valle Vista residents concerned about ballot legality
KINGMAN – A group of residents is concerned about a Valle Vista Property Owner’s Association ballot that has a Friday due date for absentee voters. The residents contend the ballots are illegal, thus rendering the election illegal.
“Property owners of Valle Vista are not aware of it,” said Jay Kulp, a member of the Council of Co-Owners of VVPOA. “This is an invalid ballot in that it does not follow Arizona law and likely violates voting requirements for nonprofit corporations.”
The ballot contains three main items for which votes are being solicited. There is the election of five directors, an assessment increase, and an additional one-time assessment to repair the water tank.
Kulp and the group have agreement from Ryan Esplin, a civil deputy attorney for Mohave County. Esplin wrote Supervisor Gary Watson an email explaining his position about the ballot.
“The ballot does not comply with the statutory requirements for conducting ballots pursuant to ARS 33-1812,” Esplin wrote. “I think there is valid argument that the ballot is invalid because it did not include all of the statutory requirements for an absentee ballot.”
Esplin wrote of three concerns he found. He said the ballot did not specify the time and date by which the ballot must be delivered to the board of directors in order to be counted.
He found the ballot did not have the name, address, and signature of the person voting. That is necessary information to have on it, unless VVPOA allows for secret ballots, in which case the information had to be on the envelope.
Esplin also discovered the the ballot did not explain to the voter that the ballot is not allowed to authorize another person to cast votes on behalf of a member.
Two messages left by the Daily Miner for VVPOA Board of Directors president Sue Wilkin were not returned.
“I don’t think the county attorney is going to get in the middle of this,” Watson said Monday. “The best thing for them to do is get things ironed out. Once you get lawyers in it, things get complicated.”
One of the difficulties facing the group against the ballot is recourse. Mohave County does not have jurisdiction over a private entity like VVPOA.
“We can’t help,” Esplin said in a telephone interview with the Daily Miner. “It’s a private matter and the association gets to decide how they do things. Those frustrated could look at the Department of Housing, but I doubt it has a regulatory function.”
That leaves the recourse of going to court where the group could try to get an injunction against the ballot going forward. Esplin said he would hope it wouldn’t come to that.
“The message I would give is to see if they can work it out,” he said. “They should try to work things out.”