In the State of Colorado and many other states, certain communities may be run by a homeowners association (HOA). Residents of these HOA communities enjoy services like landscaping as a result of paying a monthly fee to the HOA board. The officials of the board decide services a community needs and will hire professionals accordingly. Most HOAs will also hold elections on an annual basis where residents can vote in new officials or decide to keep the same board members.
Unfortunately, HOA elections can sometimes lead to favoritism or even nepotism. When it comes time for an annual election, a friend of a friend or a family member may be voted in even if it isn’t the right choice for the community. This has caused some HOA communities to hire 3rd party inspectors when elections are held.
Colorado has its own set of laws that govern its HOA elections, but some states like California require a 3rd party professional to administer the election.
What Is An Election Inspector?
An elections inspector is a person who ensures that a community holds a fair election and that everyone running for a position on an HOA board has a fair and equal opportunity of winning. Elections inspectors guarantee that those voting in the community association preserves the integrity of the vote and that the candidates elected by the community association’s members are honestly elected. The need for an inspector often comes about from unhappy residents or because of favoritism for certain individuals.
Who Can Be An Election Inspector?
Elections inspectors can be anyone who is a representative of a non-governmental organization. While laws vary from state-to-state, most inspectors may be:
- A volunteer poll worker from the county registrar’s office
- A notary public
- Anybody from the existing association who is not already a director or running to be a director
- Anyone who is not related to existing directors
Any of these individuals can serve as an elections inspector as long as they are not members of the present board or are competing for a place on the existing board in the upcoming elections. They can’t be related to anybody on the board or running for it in any manner. Sounds pretty straightforward, right?
What Are the Duties of An Election Inspector?
An inspector of elections must carry out all responsibilities impartially, in good faith, to the best of his or her abilities, as quickly as possible, and in a way that safeguards the interests of all association members. If there are three election inspectors, the decision or act of a majority should be as effective as the decision or act of all in all aspects. Any report issued by the election inspector or inspectors serves as prima facie proof of the facts mentioned therein.
An impartial election inspector supervises an association’s election to verify that there are no irregularities in the processing and counting of ballots, as the term indicates. The inspector may be in charge of overseeing those who are counting votes and those who are confirming the results, as well as ensuring that ballots are kept in a proper chain of custody.
What Do You Need to Do?
If you live in a community that is operated by an HOA board, the most important thing you can do is vote. Vote for directors who will do their best to benefit your community through the services they provide. If you are expected to pay a monthly fee to belong to the HOA, you need to be sure you are involved in the election process. Don’t hesitate to ask questions of your HOA board and if your community is using an election inspector as described here, don’t be afraid to ask them questions either.