North Carolina Adopts Full-Blown Virtual Meetings for Community Associations (and other Non-profit Corporations)
Associations now authorized to hold, and vote at, online meetings
While one will never be able
to say that the pandemic has had a “silver lining,” it has at least
inspired a profound ‒ and welcome ‒ change in the way community
associations may hold and conduct meetings.
This week Governor Cooper
signed into law HB 320, inelegantly named “Modernize Remote Business
Access,” that will empower all North Carolina community associations,
not to mention other non-profit corporations, to hold meetings remotely
and actually vote during those meetings. Up until now in the
course of the pandemic, Governor Cooper's Executive Order-based
“work-around” by which associations have met their legal obligation to
meet at least annually has been by way of remote video meetings through
such platforms as Zoom. Even under the Executive Order, however,
voting at the virtual meeting was not allowed. Instead, actual
voting was managed through post-meeting written ballots that were due by
a given date following the remote conference.
Now, community associations can both routinely hold remote
meetings and take votes from the membership, whether through hand
signals or more elaborate voting software that protects secret
balloting. This also applies to meetings of the Board of
An important point to keep in mind: the Board must
decide whether the meeting will be held virtually on in person; it is
one or the other, and a hybrid of the two is illegal.
Of course a meeting may not always be required. As before,
action can be taken without a meeting by way of a written ballot. For
both Board and Membership meetings, the new law expands upon the idea of
a “written ballot” by allowing voting electronically.
In the event your association wishes to avail itself of
this new opportunity, the first order of business is to solicit email
addresses from all of the membership whereby each member “designates” an
email address at which he or she will accept service of meeting
While the foregoing presents the highlights of HB 320,
there are numerous other aspects and requirements that require further
study before launching your first meeting under the new
legislation. For example, the law addresses appropriate
electronically means by which to give notice of meetings.
HB 320 introduces a new era of association governance --
especially for those communities whose membership is far flung -- but
watch out for the inevitable "warts" that plague all online gatherings.