The Role of Election Inspector in conducting fair Homeowner Association Elections
Nearly half of the population resides in different community associations such as housing societies, homeowner associations (HOAs), and condominium communities. The main purpose of HOAs is to offer a cohesive and comfortable environment for the residents. An HOA is a planned housing community where there are certain rules for property and residents.
The people who buy or reside in the houses of an HOA community become HOA members and need to pay the fees for the facilities they are provided. The homeowners association is usually formed where there are single-family or multiple-unit houses. An HOA is formed to define and implement the rules for houses that come in a particular jurisdiction.
What is the Purpose of the Homeowners Association?
The HOA is managed by certain resident individuals who get elected and become part of governors or board of directors and then implement the rules and policies of the HOA. The guidelines are explained in detail in a document called the ‘Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). The document contains policies that the residents must follow for maintenance of their properties and neighborhood such as cleanliness and doing repairs of the properties.
The restrictions that the document entails such as type of landscaping and color of paint on the house or fence. The residents violating the rules are asked to pay penalty fees, and in some cases, there are also litigation matters that the resident has to face. The rules are enforced so that nearly all the houses follow a certain pattern and the HOA members are given certain amenities for the fees they are paying which includes party spaces, swimming pools, parking lots, landscaping options.
HOAs work on democratic principles, and the board of directors is fairly elected through voting. The election system is best as the best people to run the HOA are selected instead of a homeowner who owns the house but does not live there. The HOA fees for a typical community range from $200 to $400 but for luxurious communities, it can be close to $8000 to $10,000.
There are many rules in the HOA document, but one of the most significant ones is the annual meeting of the homeowners. It is also in this meeting that the HOA members also elect the panel of board of directors for the next year. The elected HOA committee becomes a representation of the HOA community, so a fair election process and voting are very important.
The Importance of Employing an Election Inspector
According to studies, HOA is established in more than 50% of the households in the country, and the vote of every homeowner counts. There are many third-party companies that offer impartial election services for homeowner associations. An HOA Election Inspector is an experienced individual who is familiar with the entire HOA election process and ensures that the voting system is fair and each candidate gets a fair chance of getting elected to the board of directors.
The election inspectors must be from a third party that validates impartiality and guarantees a free and fair election. The various duties of an HOA Election Inspector in California include
- Finding out the number of members who can vote and their rights of voting
- Determining the validity and authenticity of any substitute that can vote
- Prepare a voter and candidate list and display it
- Managing all the challenges and problems that residents or members may face when casting their vote
- Set a specific time by which polling is closed and that the time complies with government documents that are part of the election process
- Developing and printing information to go along the ballots and delivering them to voters
- Ensuring that all votes are collected and counted in a fair manner
- Compile the election results and report them to the board
- Ensure the members on the transparency and legitimacy of the election process
- Make the election results and records available for any questions or analysis
Who can become an HOA Election Inspector?
HOA election inspectors can be anyone who is part of an independent third party and know about the entire HOA election process. But the election inspector must not be related to a candidate running to become a member of the board of directors. Individuals who can become an election inspectors are
- A known and reputed public figure
- A volunteer poll worker who is serving or has worked in the country registrar of voters
- Any member from the current association who is not a director, not running in the upcoming election, and not related to any candidate competing for a position on the board of directors.
The election inspectors are needed across the country in the Homeowners Association where an election needs to be held to elect a board of directors for the upcoming year. A third-party election inspector symbolizes a free and fair election process and an equal chance for each candidate to win and serve the community. The main goal is to maintain the integrity of the vote and the candidates that get the most votes from the residents get elected.
One of the most crucial tasks for election inspectors is to make sure that no foul play, nepotism, or influence is done to alter either the voting process or results. The challenging task is to ensure that all the votes are cast, secured, and counted fairly without favoring any candidate. The votes are counted and then tallied and then rechecked before announcing the result.
The HOA election inspectors also need to settle and address any disputes that may have come up within the community. The positions for which the election process takes place every year include President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. The President leads the HOA and has to preside over meetings and also sign contracts and checks. The Vice President has to stand in if the President is unavailable for meetings or any social event.
The Secretary is responsible for noting down all the important points of the meetings and tasks to be managed. The Secretary also has to write newsletters and distribute them in the community, so the residents know about ongoing issues and other pertinent information. The Treasurer has to manage all the HOA’s budget, collect and distribute funds. The duration for board members is of 2 to 3 years, but that of President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary is usually for a year.