A homeowners association (HOA) is led by a board of elected governors who enforce the real estate laws within their jurisdictions or communities. Their primary role is to set the rules and standards that govern property construction and maintenance within a community. Homeowners association elects BoD members every four (4) years under the 2006 Senate Bill (SB-61), which has undergone several amendments throughout the years. The law provides the elections procedures that will guarantee integrity and transparency by using a secret ballot.

In the fall of 2019, the state government established new HOA election laws under the Senate Bill (SB 232) that required the HOA to select an independent third party to inspect the elections. The HOAs Board of Directors will appoint an independent HOA election inspector, either one or three, to ensure that the HOA follows the processes and procedures for a free and fair election.

Below are the roles and responsibilities of an election inspector:

  • Updating the candidate and voter registration list within two days of any modifications or changes by the association, candidate, or member. That’s because the law provides 60 days of voter- and candidate-information reviews, which means the board must appoint an inspector well in advance.
  • Delivering the ballot boxes, election rules, and voting papers at least 30 days before the election date. The ballots can be sent via mail, but the election rules can be posted on the HOA website for every member to see. The CTA must be written in a clear 12-point font, bearing the phrase: “The rules governing this election may be found here:”
  • Determining the number of members eligible to vote and the power each of them possesses.
  • Determining the validity, authenticity, and effect of proxies, if any
  • Hearing and resolving any concerns or challenges that might arise from issues that relate to the right to vote
  • Receiving ballot boxes and proxies
  • Establish the election duration according to the rules and regulations governing the process.
  • Counting and tabulating all cast votes
  • Determining the election results
  • To strive and ensure that every member is treated with fairness throughout the election by acting, in any way deemed proper, to guarantee that according to the Civil Code, Corporations Code, and any other HOA rule and regulation regarding a legally-held election.
  • Determining the location for the maintenance and proper storage of election-related documents until the period for challenging the election results is due.

Typically, the HOA Board of Directors should appoint an election inspector following candidate nominations before mailing the secret ballots to HOA members. They’ll also determine the location or address for sending the secret ballots.

If you live in an HOA-run community, you should be well aware of when the next election is taking place. It’s important for you to make your nominations and vote in the directors you would like to see be in charge of the neighborhood.