Berding | Weil Community Association ALERT Newsletter
Legal News and Comments for Community Association Boards and Managers Issue #93 • June 2012
It's Not Easy Being The Election Inspector: Find Out How To Succeed!
by Steven S. Weil, Esq.
Steve will be participating in the ©CACM Webinar “Manager Turned Election Inspector? Recalls, Cumulative Voting and Other Challenges.” on Tuesday June 5, 2012 at 11:00am. Managers may follow this link to register for and join the program:
It is easy to list the reasons why a qualified community association manager should serve as the election inspector in homeowner association elections. They include cost, convenience, familiarity and skill.
But, there are also reasons why that same manager should consider recommending that another (such as the League of Women Voters, the CPA or those specializing in this task) serve as the Inspector. This article – and the upcoming Webinar – focuses on the more challenging aspects of serving as an Election Inspector. In the webinar, we will discuss how to increase the possibility of successful elections.
What is an “Election”?
The Election Inspector duties contained in the Civil Code apply not just to the “election” of directors. The definition is broader and includes any vote to authorize assessment increases or special assessments requiring membership approval; the amendment of governing documents requiring membership approval; the granting of certain types of easements; and recalls.
These votes are subject to the voting laws contained in the Civil Code (secret ballot; 30 day voting period, etc.) but not all are: votes on things such as annexation, capital improvements and bank loans may have to be conducted under the ”old style” of voting “at a meeting” or by “written ballot.” The manager – whether or not the Inspector – must help the board determine which voting rules apply.
What Are the Hardest Things the Inspector Has to Do?
They are to determine the quorum and who gets to vote (the “good standing issue”); whether to permit nominations from the floor of a meeting; whether to adjourn a meeting; and applying cumulative voting rules to elections to elect or recall directors. Ultimately, the Inspector's job is to make sure that an election is carried out lawfully and fairly.
Before the Meeting to Count Ballots
Long before the meeting to count ballots, the manager must help a board make many decisions that could impact the validity of the process. These include decisions about whether under the governing documents and California law members who are delinquent in the payment of assessments or violating the documents are entitled to vote and what “due process” procedures may be required; and whether the quorum and membership approval requirements are affected by the “good standing” determination.
Decisions must also be made about nominees: do they meet the required qualifications; are nominations permitted from the floor; should ballots be distributed before or after the first noticed meeting; should more than one meeting be held; how will this be communicated to members fairly and clearly.
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