Maine Alliance for Road Associations
Have any of the membership dealt with voting issues with regard to property owners/members who have not paid annual assessments. We are a small Association and strive to work with members who have financial hardships. We have provided a delay in payment (approved by the Board) and forgiveness of annual assessment (approved by the membership). We currently have members who have not paid one or more annual assessments and have not requested a hardship exemption. Several members have asked that these members not be afforded voting privileges.
I asked about this issue a few years back and received several replies that were helpful. If you use the keyword search function and search "voting" you will find the thread. In a nutshell, the answer was 'no'. Just like the town or state cannot prevent you from voting if you don't pay your taxes.
The title of the topic was VOTING ISSUES: NON-PAYMENT OF DUES AND ABSENTEE BALLOTS, posted in 2013. Hope this is helpful.
The old version of the DEP road maintenance manual included sample bylaws that said voting rights could be suspended if a member didn't pay their dues. But upon legal advice, they have changed that. You cannot deny a person the right to vote. The law specifies in 23 MRSA 3101: "4. Voting. Each parcel of land benefited by a private road, private way or bridge represents one vote under this section; except that, if the bylaws of the association authorize more than one vote, then each parcel may represent no more than 2 votes under this subsection. "
There could be a good reason for someone to withhold their dues, i.e. in a case where the member believes there is misappropriation of funds. (I'm not saying this is the case with your road association, but merely giving an example of why the right to vote cannot be denied.) In such a case, that person's vote might be their only way to call attention to the fact that there is something going on that other members should question.
In your case, if the person shows up to vote, that gives you a possible opportunity for taking them aside and asking them face to face in private if they need assistance, and reassuring them that there is no shame in asking for help. Point out that if they were in a position to help someone else in need, they would likely do so. All of us go through times when we can help others, and times when we need others to help us.
The Maine Alliance for Road Associations