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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do HOA elections take so long?

A law that went into effect in January 2020 added requirements to the HOA election process. Compliance with these new requirements means that HOA elections now take approximately 3.5 months from start to finish. The main cause of the longer process is the addition of the “Pre-Ballot Notice” mailing. This is a mailing that must go out after the close of nominations and at least 30 days before ballots are sent out. The Pre-Ballot Notice is required to include information such as the list of candidates, the date/time/location of the election and the deadline for returning ballots.

2. What types of elections can you administer?

We are an HOA election company that handles every type of election you can think of: board elections, recalls, special elections, delegate elections, amendments to governing documents, special assessments, IRS Resolution votes, etc. If you have a question about a particular election, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

3. What does it mean that you are an “independent third party”?

According to the Davis Stirling Act, the Inspector of HOA Elections must be an independent third party. An independent third party is someone who is not “a person, business entity, or subdivision of a business entity who is currently employed or under contract to the association.” Professional Election Inspectors is an independent third party HOA election company.

4. Are we prohibited from contacting you, or are you willing to answer questions from board members, homeowners and the HOA management company?

Please feel free to contact us anytime. We are always willing to answer questions about our client elections: we consider it part of our mission to maximize stakeholder confidence in our expertise, neutrality and in the legitimacy of the election results. We make every effort to answer all phone calls in person and to reply to emails by the end of each day.

5. What happens if we do not meet quorum for our board election?

Under those circumstances, the Inspector of Elections will consult the HOA governing documents. Typically, the election will be rescheduled for 5-30 days from the original date and a reduced quorum requirement will apply. We send ballot reminder email-blasts to the homeowners as part of our services, so meeting the reduced quorum requirement is usually achievable.

6. I accidentally threw my ballot away. Can you provide a replacement ballot?

Yes, we provide replacement ballots as needed.

7. I forgot to place my ballot inside the secret ballot envelope before mailing it. Is my ballot still valid?

Yes, ballots that have not been placed inside the secret ballot envelope are still valid. It is essential, however, for the owner to sign and complete the return address area of the outer envelope.

8. Can I ask my renter to cast my vote for me?

No. Only owners themselves (or, in some cases, a power of attorney or a proxy) can complete and return a ballot. If your ballot was sent to the wrong address, please contact us so we can send a replacement ballot to the correct address. If allowed by the HOA governing documents, owners can sometimes use a proxy to cast their vote, but the proxy must be another owner in the Association and there is a process that must be followed.

9. Can my ballot simply be postmarked by the deadline?

No, we must receive your ballot by the deadline. 

10. Can you count ballots via Zoom?

Yes, the Davis-Stirling Act allows the Inspector of HOA Elections to appear via Zoom to count ballots and certify election results.

11. What if there is a tie vote?

Under those circumstances, the Inspector of Elections will consult the HOA governing documents. Often there is a provision for how to handle tie votes. If not, we follow the guidance of Roberts Rules of Order, which favors a random drawing of lots or a coin toss to resolve a tie. If the tied parties will not agree to such an approach, then a new election will be held among the tied candidates.

12. When do the newly elected board members take their seats?

They take their seats as soon as the board term begins. Often, the board terms have ended shortly before the election date, in which case the newly elected board members take their seats immediately.

13. Does our HOA really need to have Election Rules in addition to our Bylaws and CC&Rs?

Yes, it is a requirement of SB 323 for all California HOAs to have adopted election rules by January 1, 2020. The election rules must comply with the requirements of SB 323.

14. Can we mail our ballots to the HOA management company and have them forward the ballots to you for counting?

No. Ballots must be mailed directly to the Inspector of HOA Elections from the homeowner. Ballots may not pass through the hands of the Board, the HOA management company, or any of their employees.

15. Can more than one vote take place on the same ballot?

Yes. We are happy to accommodate multiple votes on the same ballot because it saves the HOA time and money. An example would be combining a board election and a vote to update the governing documents.

16. Does the vote on IRS Revenue Ruling #70-604 have to be on the ballot along with the board election, if our election is taking place at the annual meeting?

Not necessarily. We are happy to include the IRS Revenue Ruling vote on the ballot, but it is not required to be a secret ballot election. It can be handled simply by a voice-vote or a show-of-hands at the annual meeting, as long as quorum has been established by the ballots and the IRS vote was included on the agenda in advance.