The HOA election process is confusing, especially for new residents or those who haven’t participated in voting before. IKO Community Management outlines the basics of the HOA election process and what homeowners need to know about voting, political signs, and running for a seat:
Someone else can vote for you -- if you give them permission and notify the homeowners association. Per the community governing documents, every resident has a right to vote or to appoint another resident to vote on their behalf in any election that’s held by the homeowners association. This is called a proxy vote.
"A proxy is...a document by which a [resident] appoints someone else to represent him at a unit owners' meeting and to vote," Robert Galvin of Davis, Malm & D'Agostine P.C. in Boston, said to HOA Leader.
If a proxy vote is your preferred method, include the time and date of the election meeting, names of candidates, and lines for write-in votes on the document. The document should also include a statement, such as “I hereby appoint [the name of a manager or board member] as my proxy to vote on my behalf.”
This document is a notification to your existing HOA board and must be submitted within a certain period of time and via appropriate communication protocol (email or in-person meeting) prior to the voting deadline.
Note: Many boards send proxy vote documents to every resident prior to the election meeting in order to correctly count them.
The proxy must attend the election meeting and the resident must vote for their say to be counted toward the popular vote. Otherwise, the proxy goes toward the quorum. A quorum asks how many residents/unit owners must be in attendance to elect new board members?
For example, if your community has 100 units, and the governing documents require a majority to be present to meet a quorum, 51 unit owners must be present to comprise a quorum. If the governing documents require a simple majority of the quorum for a director to get elected, the director would need 26 votes.
You have a right to know about your voting status. Outstanding HOA fines, late fees, and other delinquent charges against you can hinder your ability to vote in an election. However, you have the right per the community governing documents to be informed of your voting eligibility (whether or not you can vote based on your status within the association) before a vote is held.
You might not be able to put signs up. Like federal and state elections, HOA elections require a popular vote, which means residents can advocate for their favorite candidate. However, advocacy in the form of flags and signs may be illegal according to HOA rules.
The HOA board may be able to control signs that are made for HOA elections within reasonable restrictions, which can include sign removal due to obscenity, extreme bias, and defamation.
You have a right to run for a seat. According to the Educational Community for Homeowners, every resident has “the right to run for the board if they qualify. Qualifications should be established in the governing documents and will typically require the member to be in good standing (or having fully paid assessments and not in violation of the governing documents).
Members are also entitled to a fair election with equal access to HOA resources as other candidates, including incumbents. Penalties for failure to allow these rights [include] a potential $500 per violation fine against the association or possibly even the board.”
For more information about this topic, download IKO Community Management’s Guide To HOA Elections: