Prototype: Elections

An overview of how our elections work and the documents which govern them


Introduction


The Davis Spring Home Owners’ Association (HOA) holds elections at our Annual Members’ Meeting. This is the one meeting each year where home owners – not the Board – are in charge. We can question the Board, make suggestions, and pass binding motions which they must follow. One of the things we – if not the BIGGEST – is elect officers. These officers will manage our HOA and this is a serious business as they will control over a million dollars in assets and make decisions on your dues, how we invest holdings, manage our contractors, pay our bills, and so much more. In essence, these are the folks who “keep the lights on” and directly affect the quality of your daily life.


Election Timeline


Nearly everything associated with our elections is calendar driven, so let’s take a look at the steps leading up to the election, the election itself, and what happens afterward. To make things easy, let’s use “E – xx” to refer to days before the election, “E” for the day of the election, and “E + xx” to refer to days after the election.(“XX” will be the number of days.) Let’s get started!

E – ~40: The management company drafts updates to the election packet which will be mailed to residents. (The packet includes: invitation letter; agenda; candidate nomination form; proxy form.) Board members review and approve the packet via email back to the management company.

E – ~30: The management company copies and mails (USPS) the finalized election materials to the owner of each property (per the management company’s records). At this point, members may begin soliciting proxies from the neighborhood.

E – 04: (Friday before) If you wish to run for office and have your name listed on the ballot, your candidate form must be submitted to our management company (see form for directions). Note: Nominations can also be made from the floor on the day of the meeting.

E: (Tuesday) Annual Meeting! As you enter, you’ll sign a log book which shows your address. If you bring proxies, you’ll have to sign for each of those addresses and surrender your signed proxy forms. When we reach the point in the agenda where the election takes place, several consecutive things will happen: (1) There will be an announcement of who is on the ballot; (2) There will be a call asking if there are any additional nominations from the floor; (3) Each candidate will be given a brief opportunity to address the audience; (4) votes will be cast; (5) a call will be made for two volunteers to count the ballots. (At the discretion of the Board President, the meeting may then briefly recess or continue on with agenda.) When the count is completed, the preliminary results are handed over to our management company which will then announce the names of the winners.

E + 01: (Wednesday) The management company takes the set of collected proxies, checks them against the log book, and the number of actual votes cast by each person. (If “Jeff” signed in as voting for two addresses, he must have valid proxy statements from those owners. He must only cast THREE votes — one for himself and one for each of the two addresses.)

E + 02: (Thursday) The management company turns over the finalized, vetted election results to the Board.

E + 03 (Friday) The Board then announces the finalized results in our blog, naming the two winners and thanking all who ran.


What rules govern our elections?

Q&A

  • Who can see my vote?

    Acccording to Texas state law (Section 209.00594):,
    “A person who tabulates votes under Subsection (b) or who performs a recount under Section 209.0057(c) may not disclose to any other person how an individual voted.” The laws seem less clear about anyone else who might see your ballot (e.g., the person who collects them to be tabulated).

  • Who can count the votes?

    The Board President will call for two residents (not candidates) to do the counting.

  • Who can observe the counting of votes?

    Per Section 209.0058 (d) (3) of Texas state law each candidate may name one person to observe the counting of ballots, provided that doing so does not entitle the observer to see the name of the person who cast the ballot. Since our ballots are constructed to show the name of the voter at the bottom of the ballot, this requirement can’t be met so no observers are allowed.

  • What order are candidates listed in for the ballot?

    Individuals who submitted a Candidate Submission Form by the time of the deadline should see their names listed in alphabetical order (A to Z) based upon their last names. (“Terry Aaron” would be at the top; Allan Zephyr would be at the bottom.) Nominations from the floor on the day of the election are written in by voters.

  • How can I get info about the candidates — what they want to do, what they’re for or against, etc.?

    Candidates may make their names known at any time up to the election. It is their choice as to when that’ll be done, how it’ll be done, or if they’ll release contact information so you can contact them.

  • What should I look for on a proxy form?

    First, BE CAREFUL! Don’t sign a blank check — make sure your proxy goes to a specific person, preferably someone you personally know and trust. Second, make sure it is a limited proxy, i.e., it can only be used for certain things and only for certain period of time. (For our purposes, that would mean only an Annual Meeting on a specific date and may say whether it includes voting on elections, motions from the floor, or both.) Third, the proxy should be revokable in case you decide to attend the meeting and vote in person or have decided that your proxy should really go to someone else. Also, the HOA has approved bylaws which relate to proxies. See Article 3, Section 4.

  • Can I change my mind about a proxy and want to vote myself?

    Yes — provided it’s a revocable proxy. Come to the meeting and register as voting for your address.

  • Can I assign my proxy more than once?

    Yes — but only the most recent one will count. It’s very important that you not only sign your proxy but also include the date and time. If two people show up with your proxy, the most recent one will cast a vote on your behalf.

  • Can “Jeff” ask me (“Tom”) to sign a proxy givinng “Amy” my vote?

    Yes, but without knowing “Amy” how do you really know her vote will reflect your wishes?

  • I gave Zach my proxy — can I see Zach’s ballot to see how it was voted?

    No.

  • What statistics are available for an election?

    Decisions on what statistics to release would be made by the Board which would, in turn, direct our management company on the release of the information and how it should be communicated to the community.

  • Can both my wife and I vote?

    Only one ballot may be cast for each lot.

  • Can I run or a specific office like Vice-President?

    No. At the Board meeting following the election, the Board officers will decided among themselves who will fill each role.

  • We’re told the election results right away so why not publish them that night or the next day?

    The results announced at the Annual Meeting are preliminary; they must be vetted before a final announcement is made. Please see the above election timeline.