Every HOA has a board of directors that oversee the community and its operations. These are the people that residents entrust with the budget, rule making and enforcement, property maintenance, and more. It’s necessary from time to time to switch up these roles and give others an opportunity to sit on the board. That’s where board elections come in. Holding effective board elections gives everyone the chance to be involved and informed of what is happening in the HOA.
- Know the rules. Rules for elections can vary by state and even by individual HOA. Make sure to review the governing documents to ensure you are following proper procedure. These rules can dictate eligibility and qualifications of those who want to run, the number of votes necessary to win, and how communication and proxy forms are handled.
- Allow equal opportunity. As long as a resident meets the requirements set forth in the governing documents, they can run for the board. Provide early notification that elections are coming up and detail board responsibilities so that members can decide whether or not they want to run. Equal opportunity also applies to voting. Send out proxy forms far enough in advance that members have time to return them prior to the election meeting. Even if they can’t attend the meeting, they should have the opportunity to vote.
- Step up communication. The last thing you want is members complaining that they didn’t know about the election or were unclear on how things work. Send out detailed information regarding the election process as well as regular reminders about when and where the meeting will be held. Many guidelines indicate that ballots must be distributed at least 30 days prior to the election.
- Check for quorum. In order for the election to take place, there must be either quorum of the board or quorum of the membership depending on whether the ballots are being counted at a board meeting or annual meeting.
- Maintain confidentiality. Ballots should be kept secret until they are counted so no foul play occurs. They should remain in a sealed envelope or secure container until counting takes place. During this time there should also be inspectors to watch over things and ensure they remain fair and confidential. Votes should be counted during an open meeting to provide more transparency.
Following the rules is crucial for board elections. Start planning and preparing in advance so that things run more smoothly and issues do not arise about validity or poor communication. Remember that results typically must be disclosed within 15 days of the election. If you need assistance with election procedures, contact your property management group for guidance.