We’ve got an election coming up, and even if you’re unable to attend the membership meeting and election, you can still vote by proxy.

A proxy is the written authorization that allows one person to appoint another (the proxy holder) to vote on his or her behalf. State law and the association’s governing documents specify that the association can use proxy voting.

Why would you use a proxy? Maybe you’re traveling during the election or have other obligations that prevent you from attending the meeting, but you still want your voice to be heard.

If you’re interested in using a proxy, the manager or a board member for a proxy form. Cite the name and address of the individual you’re appointing to cast your vote. Then list your name, address and telephone number, and sign and date the form.

The association can only accept one proxy form per person, so be sure to fill out your form accurately. By only accepting one official form, the association doesn’t need to check each proxy to determine if it’s legally sufficient. It also eliminates any potential problems if the vote is close.

Just be aware that by assigning your proxy to another person, you’ve authorized the proxy holder to vote for you as he or she sees fit. The proxy holder is responsible for voting or abstaining from a vote.

Essentially, a proxy is an act of trust—the proxy giver must trust the judgment of the proxy holder. The proxy giver may think the proxy holder will vote for a certain candidate or issue, but the proxy holder isn’t legally bound by that assumption unless it’s written on the proxy form.