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HOA Elections & The Davis-Stirling Act

Professional HOA Elections

California HOA elections are governed by the Davis-Stirling Act (California Civil Code Sections 5100-5200.) The Davis-Stirling Act is routinely amended by the California legislature, which means that the rules governing HOA elections are constantly evolving. Contact us to ensure your next election complies with the latest rules and regulations. Below are the Davis-Stirling Act statutes that govern HOA elections.

Davis-Stirling Act Statutes Description
Civil Code § 5100 – Elections that Require Secret Balloting This statute describes the types of HOA elections that must be conducted by secret ballot. Click for Statute
Civil Code § 5103 – Election by Acclamation; Term Limits This statute describes the criteria that must be met in order for election by acclamation to take place. It also allows HOAs to establish term limits for board directors. Click for Statute
Civil Code § 5105 – Election Rules This statute describes the types of HOA elections that must be conducted by secret ballot. Click for Statute
Civil Code § 5110 – Inspectors of Election This statute describes what it means to be an “independent third party” and lists the duties of the Inspector of Elections. Click for Statute
Civil Code § 5115 – Voting Procedure This statute provides the required timeline for secret ballot elections and describes the two-envelope system. Click for Statute
Civil Code § 5120 – Counting Ballots; Irrevocable This statute states that owners must be allowed to observe the ballot-counting and that election results must be delivered to owners within 15 days. It also states that ballots are irrevocable once cast. Click for Statute
Civil Code § 5125 – Custody of Election Materials This statute states that the Inspector of Elections must retain the election materials for one year after the election. During that time, owners may request in writing to inspect the ballots. Click for Statute
Civil Code § 5130 – Proxies This statute provides information on the required content of proxies, if they are allowed by the HOA bylaws. Click for Statute
Civil Code § 5135 – Association Funds in Campaigns This statute states that HOA funds may not be used for campaign purposes. Click for Statute
Civil Code § 5145 – Judicial Enforcement of Election Procedures This statute states that owners have one year to challenge election results in court. Click for Statute
Civil Code § 5200 – Association Records and Enhanced Records This statute defines election materials to include ballots, signed voter envelopes, the voter list, proxies, and the candidate list. It states that signed voter envelopes may not be copied, and that election materials must be preserved for one year after the election. Click for Statute

Recent Changes to the Davis-Stirling Act

  • Election by Acclamation (AB 502). All California HOAs are eligible for Election by Acclamation, regardless of what their governing documents say. Election by Acclamation is an option if (1) the number of candidates is less than or equal to the number of seats up for election, (2) the nomination period was 90 days long, (3) a Nomination Reminder notice was given to all homeowners 7-30 days before the close of nominations, and (4) the HOA held an election with ballots at least once in the past four years.
  • Limitations on Rental Restrictions (AB 1584): HOAs must update their CC&Rs to conform to new rules on rental restrictions by July 1, 2022. However, HOAs can do so without a membership vote, as long as they follow the same procedures as for a rulemaking (i.e. the board votes after a 28-day notice and comment period for owners).
  • Term Limits (AB 432): HOAs may subject their board members to term limits.
  • Independent Third-Party Inspector of Elections (SB 323): HOAs are required to use an independent third-party to receive and tabulate ballots for all secret ballot elections. An independent third-party may not be “a director or a candidate for director or be related to a director or to a candidate for director,” or “a person, business entity, or subdivision of a business entity who is currently employed or under contract to the association for any compensable services other than serving as an inspector of elections.”
  • Election Process Overhaul (SB 323): SB 323, which went into effect in January 2020, constituted a major overhaul of the rules governing HOA elections. SB 323 required all California HOAs to adopt new election rules that conformed to the Davis-Stirling Act. A major feature of SB 323 was the requirement that board elections take a minimum of approximately 105 days from start to finish due to 3 required mailings, each approximately 30 days apart: Call for Nominations, Pre-Ballot Notice and Ballot package.

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