Tips for a Successful HOA Election

Just like any democratic nation, homeowners associations depend on elections to elect a set of new leaders–including the homeowner association board–to manage it. In addition to many other responsibilities, the board's primary duty is to maintain the HOA to ensure property values don’t depreciate. This is why board members must vote for the right people, but how can board members do this if the homeowner’s association election process is chaotic?

A successful HOA election relies on a few fundamental aspects, such as:

  • Study the homeowner association bylaws at hand–all HOA boards must conduct elections precisely as the community bylaws prescribe. This prevents the risk of invalidating the entire homeowner’s association board elections and clarifies the voting process. HOA election bylaws include:

    • How many votes from community members are needed to meet a quorum?

    • How many votes does a board member need to win an election?

    • How far in advance should the board be informed of the election?

  • Know who can run in an election and who’s eligible to vote. Before planning an HOA board election, you must know which community members can contest for a seat and which members are eligible to vote. This prevents problems, such as ineligible voting members appearing on election day and complicating the process.

  • Reach a quorum with your proxies. Again, HOA bylaws must contain information concerning what makes up an HOA quorum in your community. Some states have laws concerning such matters if your company’s bylaws don’t have this information. For example, the North Carolina Planned Community Act states that 10% of eligible voting members make up an HOA quorum.

  • Get the community members interested. An effective way to reach a quorum is to get voting members interested in the homeowner association elections. Conduct active outreach programs within the board, especially in the last weeks leading up to the HOA election.

  • Count the votes carefully. To ensure everything is successful, take your time when counting the votes, especially if you’re using physical ballots.

  • Record your HOA elections. Documenting the HOA election process protects your association should any disputes over the election’s validity occur. Keep records of attendance of voters on election day.

How Do HOA Board Members Get Elected?

The HOA's election process varies from state to state or from one community to another; HOAs usually are set up as nonprofit organizations. Thus, your local and state regulations will outline the rules and regulations of operation for your homeowners' association, including the specific voting process it must follow when electing community members. Additional clarification of the voting process will also be outlined in your community's bylaws and other governing documents. However, most HOA elections follow this process:

  • Establishment of the voting process in the governing documents and bylaws of the community

  • Announcements of an upcoming HOA election and vacant positions that are to be given to board members

  • The election is held per the HOA’s rules, which often include meetings or ballots

  • The election is held, votes are counted, and winners are announced–usually, these steps are done during annual meetings, but can also be done electronically or through the mail

  • The HOA election is closed, and new board members and officers take on new responsibilities

HOA Board Members Candidate Questionnaire Examples

As a board member, you can ask the following during the election of a condo association board candidates:

  • Do you understand our governing documents, and will you comply with the rules and regulations of this condo association?

  • Are you comfortable making tough decisions?

  • Are you committed to the requirements of this position?

  • Do you believe in the best interests of the community?

  • In what ways can you improve our HOA?

How HOAs Can Conduct Voting for Campaigns

ElectionBuddy provides several ideal voting options for single-winner elections, like an HOA board member election. Plurality is the most common voting method for HOA elections. Other popular alternatives for this voting method include:

  • Preferential method–this voting method is also known as instant runoff voting or ranked ballot. It’s perfect for HOA election administrators trying to determine how voting members feel about the candidates campaigning in HOA's elections, because ranking candidates depending on preference paints a clear picture of how voting members feel about specific candidates compared to other candidates.

  • Approval method–while this voting method isn’t as popular as the plurality or preferential voting method, it’s a standard voting option for HOA campaigns. Like the plurality voting option, voters just click on candidates they like, but they can also choose multiple candidates, just like with preferential voting where voters rank multiple candidates. Although voters can select multiple candidates, only the candidate who gets the most votes wins the election, just like with the single-winner voting option.

  • Scored method–the diverse nature of this voting option allows you to use it as a single-winner voting option. Here, contesting candidates are scored, and the candidate with the highest average score wins the election.

Condo Association Voting Options

ElectionBuddy also offers several homeowner association voting options, including online and mail-in voting. Online voting allows HOA board members to vote electronically through a mobile app, website, or any other internet-connected device. For instance, you can use online voting to conduct simple majority elections, where the candidate who garners the most votes wins the election. You can also use this voting method with more complicated voting systems, including proportional representation, in which each voting member holds weight according to their preference.

Our voting systems also support mail-in voting–this voting method offers access to voters who find it impossible or difficult to travel to a polling station and it ensures election officials are in firm control of the validation process. However, there are many rules and regulations you must comply with when organizing mail-in voting, including:

  • Bylaws and statutes

  • City or town ordinances

  • Federal regulations

  • Organizational policies

The best way to ensure your mail-in elections comply with every applicable law is to work with reputable voting systems providers like ElectionBuddy. We can help you determine which rules and regulations apply, assess any specific policies, and advise you on what to do, whether you’re conducting HOA elections electronically, in-person, through mail-in ballots, or via a hybrid voting system.

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