On March 9th, the Padre Island Property Owners Association (PIPOA) held an election for the two vacant seats of the Board of Directors.
23.24 votes separated the first and second place candidates, and only 10.18 votes separated the second and third place candidates. Some areas of concern related to the 2019 election include:
- Vote tabulators discarding all commercial property votes if they did not have a signature which matched the property name (i.e. XYZ Properties had to match Joe Smith). The tabulator, on the stand in a recent court appearance, said they also did this in 2018. (NOTE – when a candidate’s voter representatives caught this in 2019, the Board did convene and correct this error)
- Whether all proxy votes were counted
- The vote tabulators were either not given or did not follow the tabulation rules set forth in their contract with POA Board
- The final number of votes announced did not equal the number of ballots cast - meaning 37 votes are “missing”
- Misleading Sea Pines voters as to whether or not their votes would be counted
- Errors on the ballots themselves regarding the deadline for submittal
As a result, on March 10th, Brent Moore submitted, via two emails, questions regarding these issues and others, to Marvin Jones to address discrepancies present at the election. He never received a response to his emails. A property owner submitted a request for the list of property owners that received a ballot. Despite this request being acknowledged by several members of the staff, including the Executive Director, the request was never fulfilled and the questions were never answered.
On March 15th, a property owner requested a recount due to irregularities. Ultimately, 49 property owners have submitted recount requests.
The PIPOA board has continued to ignore requests from property owners related to this election. The complete lack of transparency has forced a group of Islanders looking for a fair and honest election to pursue more drastic measures.
There is a pending lawsuit between an Island property owner and the PIPOA board. In addition, the 49 property owners that have submitted recount requests have been informed they will be required to pay $4500 to cover the cost of the recount - a price that is 30% more than the cost of the entire election. It is important to note that neither the recount, nor the litigation, would have been necessary if this election had been transparent and reasonable questions answered. Numerous property owners made multiple attempts to seek answers to the blatant irregularities associated with this election before the recount requests were made and litigation filed. Had these issues been publicly answered in an honest manner, there would have been no need for these more drastic actions.
How can you help?
As a result of the lack of disclosure, unclear tabulation methods and substantial doubts as to the fairness of this election, the Island voters deserve answers. To get these answers, a recount that fully considers the tabulation procedures and their compliance with the Contract is necessary. Unfortunately, due to stonewalling and lack of cooperation by the PIPOA board, so is litigation.
Your investment into this process is needed. The recount and the litigation both cost money – a bill the property owners are being forced to pay for out of their own pockets in their attempt to seek the truth. A contribution to this cause can result in transparency - promised but undelivered - to ensure the election was fair for all parties involved. Let any questions related to the election be answered honestly and completely so that all Islanders can move forward from this election with no doubts.
Please note - all donations will have the option to remain anonymous. Furthermore, at the conclusion of the recount and litigation, any funds remaining will be returned to donors on a pro-rata basis according to the percentage of their donation(s) compared to the total amount donated.
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