HOA management is a collective responsibility, and the election of a Board of Directors and officers is serious business.
As a nonprofit, a homeowners association is required to have a Board of Directors in order to do business. The people who step up to leadership positions provide the HOA with guiding voices that are accountable to their neighbors as well as to the community at large.
Once in office, members have a fiduciary responsibility to do what they believe is in the best interest of the community. They’re tasked with maintaining common areas, ensuring bylaws are followed equitably, and overseeing financial decisions.
Board members don’t act on their own authority. They represent those who put them in office. As such, they are subject to regular elections that usually take place during the annual meeting.
At election time, HOA voters have legitimate questions:
- Do board members, or potential members, regularly attend meetings?
- Do they understand their responsibilities?
- Do they work well with others?
- Do they feel comfortable speaking their minds?
- Do they have clear heads when it comes to moderating disputes?
People also might have questions about the fairness of elections. The overriding question should be, “Is the election fair?” And the answer should be a resounding, “Yes.”
However, appearances are supremely important. An election can’t just be fair. Voters also must believe it’s fair.
Homeowners Association Software and HOA Management
When preparing for an election, HOA management needs to make sure all candidates get the chance to be heard and all votes are counted. A transparent, secure, and smooth-functioning process will go a long way toward keeping everyone involved comfortable—though maybe not happy—with the final results.
Communication is key. Emails, calls, and online content can educate community members about open positions and the candidates who are running. It’s also important that people know when, where, and how to place their votes.
A traditional paper ballot election can get the job done, but other options are available. Homeowners association software provides a set of tools that can make campaigns and election day as easy and straightforward as possible.
The Election Process
HOA elections should not be ad-hoc affairs. Though the rules vary from state to state, most elections will follow a similar process:
- The election is organized and conducted according to the HOA’s bylaws and governing documents.
- Upcoming elections and open positions are advertised.
- When the results are in, directors and officers take on their roles.
Online Survey System
Homeowners association software can make it easier to hold elections for new board members and officers. PayHOA offers a survey feature that can be used to create ballots on election day.
The system can also be set up to handle essay questions, so candidates can speak their minds on a variety of issues and concerns facing the community.
In keeping with the rich American tradition of secret ballots, survey results can be anonymous. There’s also an option to log each voter. Results can be presented as percentages or go into detail.
Obviously, all eligible association members should be included in an election. In other cases, surveys can be directed to a subset of homeowners. This feature is helpful when communicating with committees focused on different aspects of HOA management, including pool maintenance, landscaping, or security.
Community Message Boards
When it comes to communication, consistency is key. Homeowners association software message boards are available throughout the year. They engage with friends and neighbors about everything from lost dogs to requests for kitchen contractor recommendations.
During election season, message boards provide a convenient way for candidates to introduce themselves and their families. It becomes a digital meeting place where candidates share their plans to better the community. Prospective board members and officers also can respond to questions from members of the HOA.
A flexible message board system has features that should prove valuable during election season and beyond. A robust homeowners association software should allow you to:
- Create multiple boards and control who can view each one.
- Automatically send broadcast messages to the community when you publish bulletins.
- Control who can reply, post, and comment for each board and thread.
HOA management also can send information out to residents in other ways. Traditional mailings are always an option, and the right homeowners association software should make it easier to prepare and send invoices and other mail.
In the age of digital communication, a wealth of options are available to keep people aware of upcoming elections and other important information, such as voting times and procedures.
Homeowners association software is capable of sending:
- text messages to all or a selection of your homeowners
- mass emails with attachments
A software system designed specifically for homeowners associations has the ability to broadcast custom phone calls. They can be sent on demand or scheduled for specific days and times.
Sent messages are aggregated into a single dashboard, which gives you an audit log of all homeowner contacts. If a candidate or voter has any questions about how communications were handled during the election process, the system should provide a clear record of what was sent, when, and to whom.
Shared Community Calendar
Election day is a big day, and there’s no reason for anyone to miss it. Homeowners association software includes a community calendar to keep people on the same page.
In addition to letting everyone know when to vote, the calendar can keep up with birthdays, pool openings and closings, fall carnivals, and more.
Those with access to the software can easily create events and select which owners to invite. PayHOA’s software easily syncs with Google Calendar and automatically pulls in events.
Free and Fair HOA Elections
An HOA is a legal entity with rights and responsibilities under the law. It’s also a collection of people with a common desire to improve and enjoy their neighborhood.
HOAs can be relatively tiny groups of homeowners while others are comparable to small cities. No matter what the size, the goal is to create a safe and pleasant living environment for everyone in the association. That requires cooperation among members. It’s also necessary for leaders to step up and take on whatever challenges may come.
Potential HOA board members and officers must raise their hands and volunteer for the roles they seek. They have to explain their qualifications and convince others of their shared vision. They also have to humbly wait on election day as their friends and neighbors decide who made the best case for leadership.
It’s an honor to be trusted by your peers to serve the collective good, but it’s also a responsibility to look out for the well-being of the entire community.
And one day, it could be your duty to oversee a free and fair election that puts your replacement in office. If administering an election is your last act in office, you already know how to treat the task as the serious business it is.
PayHOA offers self managed HOA management software solutions for HOAs of any size or organizational priorities. To find out if PayHOA fits all your HOA management needs, try our software free for 30 days.