November Newsletter

November Newsletter

Avoiding Election Missteps: 8 Tips for a Winning Outcome By Matthew A. Gardner, Esq. and Alisa E. Sandoval, Esq. If practice makes perfect, association elections should be a breeze. However, overlooking even the smallest parts of the election can cause chaos. California Civil Code Sections 5100-5145 dictate the election process: when to use secret ballots; how to conduct elections; how to select inspectors; how to campaign; and how to conduct the ballot counting and understanding why the Civil Code requires these for fair elections, may help avoid some of those election day challenges. #1 Have election rules in place FIRST. All associations are required by Civil Code 5105 to adopt election rules. Without election rules, the owners, inspectors of election and board are all at-risk of mistakes that may result in costly legal challenges. Older CC&Rs and bylaws probably do not even require secret ballots, so it is important that the rules describe how elections are conducted. Election rules must comply with both Civil Code and your governing documents and should contain: Nomination procedures, Director qualifications, Method of selecting independent third parties as inspectors of election, Rules for access to association media during campaigns, Rules for access to common area meeting space during campaigns, Secret ballot instructions and procedures. Once you have the basics outlined above, make sure that the board and your owners are comfortable with how it is presented. Some associations will add additional details about candidate statements or “meet the candidate” events. Work with your owners so that the rules represent your community’s preferences regarding elections. #2 Identify candidate and director qualifications in the candidate nomination...