All of a sudden, it’s time to start the next election for your HOA. It seemed so far in the future and then you realize…it’s here! Fortunately, you are already prepared because you followed these simple steps:
Keep your HOA mailing list up to date. One of the first things the Inspector of Elections is going to ask you for is the HOA mailing list so they can mail out the Call for Nominations, Pre-Ballot Notice and Ballot Package. The mailing list needs to include the HOA property address and mailing address for each owner. Email addresses and phone numbers are also very helpful in case the Inspector of Elections needs to contact a homeowner directly. The mailing list needs to be in Excel or csv format: a pdf is not a workable format for sending out bulk mailings.
Update your HOA Election Rules to be SB 323 Compliant. We assume that your HOA has already updated its election rules as required by SB 323. If not, get started immediately! The Inspector of Elections is going to ask for a copy of the HOA Election Rules on Day 1.
Keep track of board member terms. Which board members are up for election? Are there any board members serving partial terms who are up for election? Are there vacant seats that are up for election? It is all to easy for HOAs to lose track of board member terms due to vacancies, resignations, recalls, missed 2020 elections due to Covid, etc. Sorting out which seats – and therefore which board members — are up for election in advance will help your HOA be ready-to-go when election time hits.
Know your HOA’s position on cumulative voting. Cumulative voting can be a landmine for the unwary. You should know whether your HOA’s governing documents allow cumulative voting and you should also know whether your HOA typically uses cumulative voting on its ballots. Remember, notice needs to be given in order to have cumulative voting on the ballot. Will the homeowners expect to see cumulative voting on the ballot, in which case, do they know that someone will need to give notice of their intent to cumulate their votes? The last thing you want is an ugly surprise when homeowners receive their ballots and it is in a format they are unfamiliar with.
Know how many units the developer still owns, if any. If the developer still owns a number of units or lots in the HOA, they may have special voting rights. For example, they could be entitled to 3 votes for every vote a homeowner gets to cast. Or, they could be entitled to appoint some number of board members. You should know whether the developer still owns units in your HOA and whether they have any special voting rights. This information can be found in the HOA Bylaws and CC&Rs.