HOAs are democratic institutions and must have a free and fair election process that reflects their democratic principles. Homeowners have the right to elect the board of directors as they see fit, but the election process must be in keeping with bylaws and state or federal legislation.
Election Process: Where to Start?
As with any task, the first step can often be the most intimidating and challenging to make. Indeed, an election does not need to be a daunting task. The election process should be clearly stated in your HOA bylaws and/or election guidelines.
HOAs have different election processes. Some elect their board of directors at an annual general meeting with a show of hands, or secret ballot while others conduct in-person elections. Many have chosen to save time, money and effort and have opted to vote online. Regardless there are three things that every election process has in common.
An Election manager or Election Committee
The election manager or committee is responsible for ensuring that the election is being managed in a way that is in keeping with the bylaws of the association. The committee is ultimately responsible for the success of the election. Any illegal or unfair election may result in a re-election and even perhaps legal action. Be sure to appoint a board member to oversee the election process or chair the nomination committee, even if you outsource the management of your election process.
An Electoral Roll
The Electoral roll, along with the ballot paper(s) is the most important aspect of any election. This is a full list of all eligible voters, their membership number, their eligibility status and contact details. This is the area where the most mistakes happen in HOA elections. If the electoral roll has been neglected in between elections, it can be a difficult task to gather a complete list of all of homeowners who are eligible to vote. Indeed, the larger the HOA, the more challenging this can become. The roll must be checked for duplicates and all contact details must be accurate.
The ballot papers are what your voters see and what you will have to count. If you are combining postal or online elections with in person voting, all ballot papers must be identical, with nothing on them that could be traced back to an individual voter. How you structure your ballot paper is at your discretion. You may include pictures and bios and may order the ballot paper either randomly or alphabetically.
At POLYAS, we have over 20 years of experience running online elections. We combine our digital elections with postal voting and in person voting to suit your voting needs. Contact us today to find out how you can reduce election costs and increase voter turnout.