Online voting will make for lonely convenience in strata


I voted online at the last election but, strangely, I had to be out of the state to do that. Still, it worked, and one would think soon we will all be logging on and casting away.

There are rituals about voting that are threatened by this advancing technology. The local state school election day cake stall and sausage sizzle will soon be things of the past. Political party hacks won’t have to stand in the sun all day taking snide looks and comments from those declining their how-to vote-cards, the scrutineers will miss out on a good day’s pay for crossing out names, and we won’t have to line up at a cardboard booth for the nation to decide.

Proposed laws for voting online for strata communities will change rituals too. Some will be missed, some not so much. No longer will you have to be present personally or by proxy to participate in a meeting. Proxy farming will be curtailed. You will be able to cast your vote in writing and in other ways adopted by the owners corporation and approved by government regulation. The specific details for this have not yet been released but voting online, by apps and using social media should be in the mix.

Participation levels in strata affairs should rise if these proposals become law. No longer will you have to go out at night, fight the traffic and find a park to vote on your strata issues. The sometimes laborious task of counting votes will be faster and more accurate. We will all get home earlier but like all reform this one will not be without its consequences too.

Firstly, those of us that care enough to engage won’t meet as many of our fellow owners because most will vote with their keyboard, and the already too lonely corridors and foyers of apartment buildings will become that much more isolated. Secondly, in the absence of live debate and presentations strata entities will probably be more likely than they already are to vote on price, not quality. That happens when there is nothing else for the decision maker to go on and no one believes all that stuff in the propaganda about quality and service.

When we can vote by a click of a button on the bus on the way home strata communities that care about community and quality will have to find new and better ways of meeting, forming relationships and making decisions on the true merits of a proposal rather than merely the bottom line.

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