HOA board elections are a vital aspect of the association’s existence. This is not only because it elects and welcomes new members and policies to the board, but because HOA elections are often required by your state’s law! Making sure that you know how to conduct elections during the specified times, and ensuring that those election rules are adopted will keep your HOA effective and in tight shape. It will also make for a more enjoyable tenure for yourself and the people living in your neighborhood.
In this article, we’re providing you with our very best tips on how to conduct and run effectively HOA elections. We will also offer ways to make sure your HOA is adopting the election rules into use. On a wider scale, HOA’s are democratic institutions that give homeowners the right to elect members to the board as they see fit. So, it’s important that the election rules are clear and consistent so that everyone is aware of the process.
Bylaws & the Ballot Box
HOA elections don’t have to be a headache if you volunteer for a board that’s run in an organized and involved way. The very first step in learning how to conduct effective HOA elections is to check on your HOA’s bylaws and CC&Rs. Often times, the playbook for elections is already laid out for you in your HOA’s bylaws. Similarly, it’s crucial that your board checks with your state’s regulations on holding HOA elections. The HOA tip blog Hignell recommends that your board reviews any changes with the Association’s legal counsel. This is to make sure that your HOA is in compliance with the laws of the state before kicking off your own election.
Then, once your board has adopted any changes in election laws mandated by the state in which you live and those changes have been implemented and are consistent with your HOA’s bylaws, you can start to prepare for your board’s election. Certainly, associations all over the country have different processes for conducting their HOA elections in an effective way. This is where you and your board will have some freedom to make decisions for your election. For instance, depending on what everyone agrees upon, you can choose to elect members by a show of hands, by a secret ballot box, or in some cases, boards will opt to vote for new members online.
Lastly, once your board’s decision on a voting method, a candidate solicitation notice must be sent to all members. This notifies them that they may submit their name as a candidate to the board. Typically, candidates that are submitted to run for the board must meet certain qualifications. Also, they should be current with payments and dues to the association in order to qualify for candidacy.
Holding the Election
As you prepare for your election, there are key boxes your board must check off ahead of hitting the polls. Polya’s, the blog devoted to secure online voting, explains one of the most important aspects of holding an HOA election. This being to make sure that your electoral roll is sorted. The electoral roll is the full list of all eligible voters. In addition, it includes their HOA membership number, their eligibility status, and their contact details. Besides the obvious reason for ensuring you’re aware of the full amount of eligible voters participating in your election, it’ll also aid in your next task– checking for a quorum.
It’s crucial that board members check the quorum. This is to ensure they have the right accounting to know how many people are needed to proceed. HOAleader.com gives an example of why counting for a quorum is crucial to the election process. Let’s say your HOA looks after 100 units. Your HOA’s governing documents require a majority to be present to meet a quorum. So, you need 51 unit owners present to comprise a quorum. He or she would need to gain 26 votes in order to win. That is if a majority of the quorum for a new director or board member to get elected is required.
In some cases, third-party HOA management companies will help accommodate the election process. In other cases, HOA’s will opt to hire an election inspector, as an attorney, to supervise and validate the election. However, before hiring an election inspector, be sure that they are qualified to handle the election. Meaning this as in terms of voting methods and technicalities.
Make the Votes Count
It’s your job as members of your board to make sure that your HOA election is running smoothly and fairly. There are a lot of expectations from voters for any type of election. Elections for HOA’s tend to hit home — excuse our pun– a little more directly as it immediately relates to the neighborhood’s livelihood and the homeowners’ day to day lifestyle. Four key points we and every other HOA-centric article will stress are the following:
- Understand the quorum threshold needed for a vote to pass.
- Make sure your electoral roll is up to date and that your board is aware of who’s eligible to vote from each household.
- Create a process for counting votes and make sure the team or individual counting them is completely unbiased.
- Check your state laws, as well as your HOA’s bylaws and CC&R’s, for guidelines on the election process.
Further, above are the very general guidelines for conducting your HOA election. You might find that what works for one board doesn’t necessarily jive with the other. The election process is open to trial and error, as long as the above tips are first taken into consideration. Talk with your board. Get a pulse from the community. Then learn about what others want and need from the election process before you begin!