With most elections occurring between the beginning of January and the end of March, election season for HOAs is now upon us. Even the word “elections” can bring a feeling of dread upon board members, but the process does not have to be a painful one. Here are five tips for making this year’s HOA election a success.
Prepare in Advance
There are many things that you can do to prepare in advance for the elections. Staying on top of the elections in the best way to ensure that everything goes smoothly. One important item is sending out candidate solicitations in advance. This should give all members in good standing the proper amount of time to submit their name as a candidate. This is important as it widens the field and helps bring diversity to the board. To help facilitate this process, common areas should be made available for all activities relating to the elections.
Study Your Governing Documents
All HOA boards should be careful to conduct the elections exactly as the governing documents prescribe. This will help prevent the risk of invalidating the entire election, and will also bring a lot of clarity to the voting process. Items usually included in the documents are:
- 1. How many votes from community members are needed to meet the quorum
- 2. How many votes are needed to secure the election of a board member
- 3. How far in advance the community needs to be informed of the election
Know Who Can Run and Who Can Vote
It is important to know ahead of time who can be a candidate for election to the board, as well as who is allowed to vote in the elections. This information can be found in your governing documents as well. Usually any community member can be a candidate as long as they are a homeowner and are in good standing and up to date with all payments. Who can vote depends on the HOA, but usually one representative per unit can submit a ballot.
Have Detailed and Early Proxies
Proxies should be sent out far in advance with enough time for them to be considered by homeowners. This also gives them enough time for homeowners to make arrangements for who their proxy will be. The proxies that are sent out should be extremely detailed and should include several write-in lines in addition to the names of the candidates. Sending them in advance helps to ensure that enough people vote in the elections.
Carefully Count Votes
To be sure that everything has been done correctly, spend a lot of time on counting the votes. This will help to prevent mistakes that can cost precious time and make homeowners angry. Always count the vote more than once to be sure that the results are accurate.
By counting votes carefully, being proactive about proxies and solicitations, and having a thorough knowledge of your governing documents, your board will be able to have a successful and stress-free election.