Change made to Diamondhead POA voting

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - Normally the rule is one person one vote. But a change to the election process at the Diamondhead Property Owners Association could see some members casting multiple votes.

The election for board members is next month, but after changes were made absentee ballots won't be allowed.

Members can either vote in person on the day of the election or designate another member of the association to vote in their name.

Some residents say they're simply confused by the change and they also worry about a conflict of interest in the election process.

"The most significant change is that voting by absentee ballot is no longer allowed, so it's necessary that anyone who cannot be present to cast their ballot on the Election Day they must send in a proxy to have their vote counted," said POA Vice President John Yarbrough.

If you can't be at the community center on Election Day residents can mail or drop off either a general proxy form or a directed proxy form.

A directed proxy form will designate the POA President or Secretary to cast a vote in your name for whatever candidates you choose.

But a general proxy form will allow the president, secretary, or another member of the association to cast a vote in your name for whatever candidates they want to support. Essentially you give your vote to them. Charles Buckley says he doesn't think that should even be an option since the secretary is up for reelection.

"That's unfair to the other individuals that are running. A person who doesn't care to vote one way or the other, they should not be able to cast a vote one way or the other," said Charles Buckley a Diamondhead resident.

But According to POA officials, the use of proxies is allowed in the association's bylaws.

"Proxies should be sent to the president or secretary and the secretary is running for reelection and in this case if she has a directed proxy, she still must vote that proxy as directed. So there's a potential conflict of interest as some people see it, but that's absolutely legal," said Yarbrough.

Folks like Buckley hope residents will choose who they want to vote for and not leave it up to anyone else.

"Diamondhead's a great place to live. It's got its quirks like anywhere else, but the way you get the quirks out is to challenge and to do these things if you're just going to sit back and belly ache, sit back and belly ache somewhere else. But if you want a change get out and vote," said Buckley.

The election process could become even more confusing this week. On Monday a decision will have to be made on the eligibility of one of the candidates in the election.

If that candidate is removed amended ballots and proxy forms will have to be sent out to members so they can re-submit their votes. The election will take place Saturday, June 21 beginning at 9 a.m. at the POA community center.

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