Board Elections Getting Counted, Being Heard

 Every condo development and HOA has a board of directors in charge of governing  the community’s finances, physical maintenance and other day-to-day business. The board is not  just a group that runs the association, however—it is also a group that runs the business. Part of that responsibility is to  keep the community fiscally sound, and to make sure the process of choosing new  leaders is transparent and above reproach.  

 “You have to have an election, pursuant to bylaws,” says David J. Byrne, Esq., a shareholder and attorney with the  Lawrenceville-based law firm of Stark and Stark. “If you’re run by a board, you have to have an election—it’s just a question of when.”  

 So how often must an HOA hold elections, and how must those results be tabulated  in order to assure a fair and honest election in which everyone's voice is  heard and accounted for? Let's take a look.  

 How it's Done

 Boards are generally elected by HOA residents, but the process by which this  happens varies from one community to the next because of variations in  different communities' bylaws. Residents elected to the board bring a variety  of skills to the office, but obviously not all directors or trustees are  equally knowledgeable in all the aspects of their job. Conducting elections of  new board members is one task that the board can flub—sommetimes with disastrous results.  

 Residents of a community who believe an election was conducted improperly can  challenge the results of that election. The matter can wind up in court,  costing everyone a great deal of money, time, and energy. In the process,  neighbor can be pitted against neighbor and hard feelings can unwittingly be  engendered—sometimes over what is fundamentally just a misunderstanding of how to conduct a  proper community election.  


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  • Is there ever a time when an election is not necessary? For instance if there are only enough people running to fill the required seats?
  • I live in a restricted deed 55+ NJ development. An election is on the horizon and I submitted, by the deadline, my letter of intent and a professional resume. The Board held a closed meeting to select only those candidates they would place on the ballot. I questioned why I was not placed on the ballot and received a reply that although highly educated and qualified, it was the decision of the Board president and if I wanted to learn why I was not selected to see him. The election now will be for three incumbents with no opponents. I believe the closed "selection process" and the lack of notifying the residents of all who are interested in running for the board are illegal, Can you advise? Thanks
  • The ballot that was mailed out has the name, address of the voter and the 12 people running. The president picked out 3 inspectors, during the meeting told them to count the ballots. What they did was to open every envelop put all the ballots in a pile and count to see if we had a quorum, we did not so they took the ballots to the desk where the board was setting and said we would have to hold over the meeting until next month. My concern is all ballots were open and they are just in a pile where anyone can see them it leaves me wondering on the security of the vote.
  • At the Annual Meeting which should of been held in May took place in September. The BOT of (7) held a meeting of themselves took a vote an told the (2) people that were running that they took a vote and out of 7 votes 6 voted not to have these 2 back to the BOT this was told in a room of homeowners then they ballots of of 3 who did not reside in the community please advise?
  • We have a board consisting of 5 members. Our election is coming up and we have 3 new members running along with the five incumbent directors. We'd like to vote for 2 of the new members and 3 of the incumbent directors, will this be defeating the purpose of getting 2 new people elected? Or should we vote for just the 2 new members? Thanks
  • Our By-laws indicate a specific date and includes a rain date to hole annual elections, for years this has been abused because the president is incompetent and believes he can do whatever he chooses. At this point it is safe to say this is a defunct board for a number of years and they ignore the suggestions to correct. Legally what are the options? By-laws was the agreement i had with the co-op and proprietary lease was given to me months after I purchased and moved in.