DALLAS — October 10, 2023 — Associa, the community management industry’s largest company, is dedicated to helping homeowners associations (HOAs) and managed communities create attractive and welcoming environments to maximize resident quality of life. Good leadership with a fair and accurate election process is key to a successful, well-run HOA. These tips can provide your community with the framework for a successful election season.
Consult governing documents
HOA governing documents provide information and guidelines about hosting a board election. Consult them for details regarding:
- Election timing and frequency
- Voting options
- Candidate qualifications
- Campaigning rules
- Term lengths
Adhere to Local, State and Federal laws
Local and state laws outline HOA rules of operation, including voting and election processes and requirements. E.g., Florida has term limits for board members, while California requires a third-party election inspector. Research applicable election laws and restrictions and confirm compliance to avoid issues. As always, consult your association’s attorney if you have questions.
Board members should maintain regular contact with residents regarding upcoming elections, procedures, candidates, and open positions. Make community members aware of key dates, next steps, and leadership opportunities. Informed residents are more likely to participate when they trust the board to administer a fair and accurate voting process. Failure to inform residents about elections can result in a low voter turnout or an inability to meet a quorum and the minimum number of votes required for a valid election.
Always operate with an election committee
An election committee or nominating committee is required by HOA governing documents. These committees play an integral part in guaranteeing qualified and willing candidates are available for election to vacant positions. They can also help establish a plan to meet quorum and educate residents about the board’s structure and the importance of voting.
Clarify nomination procedures
Ensure that all community members understand board nomination procedures. Some more standard methods include traditional nomination, self-nomination, floor nominations, and in some bylaws, write-in candidates.
Do not endorse specific candidates
It is the fiduciary duty of board members to remain neutral. Elections are up to residents, and sitting board members should never endorse one candidate or attempt to influence voters, even if they believe one candidate is better suited for the role. That means no campaigning for a specific candidate or making negative or unproven comments. Some state laws prohibit board members from getting involved beyond the act of ensuring a fair elections process.
Encourage members to have a written proxy
Not every resident will be able to attend an election. Those who can’t attend should complete and return a proxy form. This lets them appoint another individual to vote on their behalf. Proxies can be rescinded if the member attends and can be used to establish a quorum if they do not.
Have a transition plan in place
Incoming board members often have little or no understanding of procedures, which makes a transition plan vital. New leaders can reference this plan and find all they need to maintain smooth operations, ongoing projects, and stay on track with goals. The transition plan summarizes the previous board’s work and details its current state. Items should include agenda logs, contract summaries, the current strategic plan, reserve summaries, financial statements, and general manager reports.
The Complete Guide to HOA Elections
Associa has helped countless communities hold successful elections. Read their article, “A Complete Guide to HOA Elections,” for detailed information about the HOA election process, why it matters, and more.
With more than 275 branch offices across North America, Associa is building the future of community for more than 6.5 million residents worldwide. Our 14,000+ team members lead the industry with unrivaled education, expertise, and trailblazing innovation. For more than 44 years, Associa has brought positive impact and meaningful value to communities. To learn more, visit www.associaonline.com.