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Subject: Mail-in Ballots
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Author Messages
StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/07/2019 10:14 PM  
California: Is it proper/legal to have the "Election Material" outer envelop sent to association members for secret ballot voting postmarked?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9445


12/08/2019 6:31 AM  
You can't put anything in a mailbox without a stamp on it. That is federal/Postal law. so I would assume it would need postmarked.

Former HOA President
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7395


12/08/2019 9:08 AM  
Can you expand on your question a bit, Stan? Items that are sent USPS must be postmarked, right? I can't look it up right no, but I believe that in CA, ballot materials must be sent to Owners via USPS and not, for instance, hand delivered.
MarkW18


Posts:1290


12/08/2019 9:18 AM  
I have to assume you would like to know whether the material was delivered within the 30 day window as required by California statues under §5115(a).

I mail election material out to HOA's and use an printing service to do so. They don't postmark their material. If proof is ever needed I can get it from the printing service as they can document the timeline from start to finish.
MarkW18


Posts:1290


12/08/2019 9:20 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 12/08/2019 9:08 AM
Can you expand on your question a bit, Stan? Items that are sent USPS must be postmarked, right? I can't look it up right no, but I believe that in CA, ballot materials must be sent to Owners via USPS and not, for instance, hand delivered.




They can be delivered, if not mailed

Civil Code §5115. Voting Procedure.

(a) Ballots and two preaddressed envelopes with instructions on how to return ballots shall be mailed by first-class mail or delivered by the association to every member not less than 30 days prior to the deadline for voting. In order to preserve confidentiality, a voter may not be identified by name, address, or lot, parcel, or unit number on the ballot. The association shall use as a model those procedures used by California counties for ensuring confidentiality of vote by mail ballots, including all of the following: [Old: Civ. Code §1363.03(e)]
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2902


12/08/2019 9:30 AM  
Much more information is needed from the OP.
MarkW18


Posts:1290


12/08/2019 9:34 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/08/2019 9:30 AM
Much more information is needed from the OP.



Like what?
StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/08/2019 12:43 PM  
Sorry for the confusion. The postmarked envelope I was referring to is the envelope that is mailed to the inspector containing the vote and only identifies the member. If the envelope is postmarked there is no way to determine the date it was mailed or where it was mailed from. This could be important if the member is a non-resident and lives out of town.
MarkW18


Posts:1290


12/08/2019 1:15 PM  
Why would that matter?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9672


12/08/2019 3:34 PM  
Posted By StanM4 on 12/08/2019 12:43 PM
Sorry for the confusion. The postmarked envelope I was referring to is the envelope that is mailed to the inspector containing the vote and only identifies the member. If the envelope is postmarked there is no way to determine the date it was mailed or where it was mailed from. This could be important if the member is a non-resident and lives out of town.




Is here not a voting deadline? I cannot showup with a ballot after any election I know of.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3356


12/09/2019 6:51 AM  
We always mail our proxy cards to homeowners which must be RECEIVED by the property manager the day before the annual meeting date (or you can turn them in personally at the meeting). A self-addressed envelope is enclosed for mailing and when the property manager receives them, they're placed in a box (unopened) and the box bought to the meeting and opened in front of everyone by designated homeowners. They count the number of proxies and add that to the number of people attending to see if we have a quorum to even hold the meeting. If so, the envelopes are opened when the election begins to see if the homeowner nominated someone for a board position or authorized the Board president to cast the vote in his/her behalf.

I was on the board for 10 years and we never had an issue with people knowing who voted for who - most of the time, board members stayed on the board until they stepped down, like I did.

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7395


12/09/2019 8:02 AM  
Thanks, Mark, for looking up the CA requirements for delivering election materials in CA.

Our HOA's election rules and the ballot materials that are delivered to owners specify the date & time the inspectors of election can receive the secret ballots in our management office. It's always 5pm on the day of the annual meeting. The election materials also note voters can personally return their ballots to the annual meeting, xx/xx/xxxx. At some point during the meeting, which starts at 6pm, attendees are asked if any ballots remain to be turned in. The answer always is no and the board president announces that voting is closed. The prez then instructed the inspectors to begin tabulating the ballots.

(Voters, btw, rarely bring their ballots to the meeting.)

StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/09/2019 9:40 AM  
My point being that by using a postmarked return envelope to the inspector could lead to election fraud. A postmarked envelope would indicate who the member (return address) is but not where the envelope was mailed from. Checking postmark mailing location would be an important verification if a member did not live locally as one example.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7395


12/09/2019 10:16 AM  
Sorry, Stan, I'm just not grasping your concern. In CA, voters send or (very rarely) bring their ballot envelopes to the inspectors. Because absentee voting is permitted, no one votes by proxy. The ballot is inside two envelopes. The outer envelope must have the voter's HOA property address, the voter's name and the voter's signature. As with Sheila's situation, the double envelopes are placed in a box that's locked & kept in a secure place during the election period.

The night of the annual meeting, once voting is closed, the box is given to the inspectors who begin tabulation. One opens the outer envelopes. The inner envelopes have no ID whatsoever on them. They are passed to another inspector who opens them and s/he tells the 3rd inspector the names & votes.

As with Sheila's HOA and a requirement in CA, Owners may observe the whole tabulation process.

SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3356


12/09/2019 10:20 AM  
As long as the ballot is signed and dated by the homeowner, does it matter? Suppose the homeowner is on a business trip and mailed the ballot to whatever he or she happens to be at the time because there was no time to go to the local post office? If an owner lives out of town, one would expect the postmark to show from where and when the Post Office received it, so it can begin processing delivery (that's what postmarks are for). This is also why my community considers it on time of the property manager receives it by close of business on the deadline date.

The homeowner should also make sure the ballot, proxy or whatever it is, is mailed to meet the deadline so the vote can be counted. Sometimes the time you put it in the mailbox can be a factor (that's why you should read the box listing the last time mail is picked up). Occasionally, weather can be a factor (e.g. if there's a hurricane, mail delivery will probably be delayed). We give homeowners 30 days to return our proxies, so I assume they know how to use calendars.

I'd be more worried about (1) the homeowner using the proper form (2) checking that the homeowner is eligible to vote (current with all assessments), (3) is the homeowner's signature and signature date original (no stamps)the homeowner eligible to vote (that is he/she is current with all assessments, so the name on the form should be checked against an official homeowner list), (3) is the signature and signature date original (we don't allow stamps in our community) and (5) was the form turned in on time?

If you're still worried about the postmark, have you expressed your concerns to your board? If so, what was the response? If not, why not?
MarkW18


Posts:1290


12/09/2019 10:20 AM  
Posted By StanM4 on 12/09/2019 9:40 AM
My point being that by using a postmarked return envelope to the inspector could lead to election fraud. A postmarked envelope would indicate who the member (return address) is but not where the envelope was mailed from. Checking postmark mailing location would be an important verification if a member did not live locally as one example.



Your inquiry might be best suited going down to your local post office. I have never seen, in all my year, an envelope, purchased through the USPS, that has already been postmarked. The post mark only goes once delivered and pocessed through USPS.
MarkW18


Posts:1290


12/09/2019 10:28 AM  
Posted By StanM4 on 12/09/2019 9:40 AM
My point being that by using a postmarked return envelope to the inspector could lead to election fraud. A postmarked envelope would indicate who the member (return address) is but not where the envelope was mailed from. Checking postmark mailing location would be an important verification if a member did not live locally as one example.



For your information, other members can make a list of who voted in your election, just not how they vote. For example, a member can go to the person who handle the envelopes and write down every person's name who vote, before or after the ballots are counted.
StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/10/2019 10:31 AM  
SheliaH (Indiana) wrote in part…… If an owner lives out of town, one would expect the postmark to show from where and when the Post Office received it, so it can begin processing delivery (that's what postmarks are for.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Metered reply mail (MRM) is a type of mail in which a business sends pre-printed, self-addressed envelopes or postcards to customers, with postage prepaid on the envelopes or postcards with a postage meter. The USPS will not postmark your Metered mail.

Question: Do you use Meter Reply Mail?

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7395


12/10/2019 12:35 PM  
Wait! Is this some kind of goofball spam??
StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/10/2019 12:48 PM  
No! If you believe all voting is in the up & up....surprise! We have our mailing envelopes metered which I'm against. 50% owners are non-resident. I was wondering if other HOAs use metering or do members add their own stamp.
MarkW18


Posts:1290


12/10/2019 2:21 PM  
You are against metered mail. Thanks for sharing.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9672


12/10/2019 2:23 PM  
Stan

W are just not seeing your concern. If a ballot was mailed to an owner, no matter where, and returned from no matter where, what is the problem?
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2902


12/10/2019 2:50 PM  
Maybe there is a subtlety we’re missing?

As long it meets basic requirements of timeliness and process, why would there be an issue?
StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/10/2019 2:55 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 12/10/2019 2:23 PM
Stan

W are just not seeing your concern. If a ballot was mailed to an owner, no matter where, and returned from no matter where, what is the problem?




The outer envelope that is mailed to the inspector contains member info for identification (return address). A postmark may also be used to verify member ID (if questionable) since the postmark displays where the ballot was mailed from (hopefully member's actual postal area). A metered envelope displays where an envelope was stamped before sending to member and not where a member may mailed envelope with ballot from. Metered envelopes are not postmarked by post office. Metered envelopes may invite voting fraud.

I still would like to know if other HOAs use metering or do members add their own stamp to envelope containing ballot.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7395


12/10/2019 3:03 PM  
And, in CA, as I wrote above, the owner's name, signature & HOA address are required on the outer envelope that comes back to the HOA. The HOA will accept only one ballot envelope per household.

As pointed out, it doesn't matter where the ballot envelope comes from as long as it gets to the designated place by the deadline. We have 25% absentee owners and about another 12% who live here part time. Some of them have 3-4 homes. Ballots come from everywhere!

I'm still not sure what Stan thinks will happen that's crooked.....

To encourage a strong turnout, I've heard of HOAs stamping or metering the return envelope. This is pretty common for voting where a super majority is needed to, for example, amend CC&Rs.

NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3987


12/10/2019 3:14 PM  
Posted By StanM4 on 12/10/2019 2:55 PM
A metered envelope displays where an envelope was stamped before sending to member and not where a member may mailed envelope with ballot from. Metered envelopes are not postmarked by post office. Metered envelopes may invite voting fraud.


Just wondering about how things work in CA. Am I correct in assuming that when the outer envelopes are opened, someone checks the signatures against signatures on file at the HOA? If not, how does it work?

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7395


12/10/2019 3:40 PM  
My understanding, NpS is that as ballot envelopes arrive, the signature is checked with what's on file and the ballot is accepted and checked as such. Haven't seen it with my own eyes. In our case, the ballots are mailed to the PM, or dropped off in her office, checked off and kept in a locked box until annual meeting night.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3924


12/10/2019 3:43 PM  
Posted By StanM4 on 12/10/2019 2:55 PM
A postmark may also be used to verify member ID (if questionable) since the postmark displays where the ballot was mailed from (hopefully member's actual postal area).

That's a novel assertion. I've never seen anything that suggests that's remotely true or would stand up as "proof" in any way, shape or form.
StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/10/2019 4:11 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 12/10/2019 3:03 PM
And, in CA, as I wrote above, the owner's name, signature & HOA address are required on the outer envelope that comes back to the HOA. The HOA will accept only one ballot envelope per household.

As pointed out, it doesn't matter where the ballot envelope comes from as long as it gets to the designated place by the deadline. We have 25% absentee owners and about another 12% who live here part time. Some of them have 3-4 homes. Ballots come from everywhere!

I'm still not sure what Stan thinks will happen that's crooked.....

To encourage a strong turnout, I've heard of HOAs stamping or metering the return envelope. This is pretty common for voting where a super majority is needed to, for example, amend CC&Rs.




Kerry, what prevents someone from doing the following: Ballot receiving Inspector noticed that "Member A" didn't submit their ballot again. To support a specific candidate, a ballot was prepared voting for specific candidate(s) of interest. Ballot was placed in a Metered Envelop and Member A's return address was added. On election day, an appointed inspector checks mailing envelope to determine if "Member A" qualifies to vote by checking return address, etc. All is verified, however, Member A's ballot became suspicious since it is known by some that "Member A" hasn't voted in years. Checking the postmark on the envelope would remove some doubt, especially if "Member A" lives some distance away.

The above could happen if, for example, management is the receiving inspector and some members are use to count ballots.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2902


12/10/2019 4:42 PM  
I dunno ...sounds odd and far fetched.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3987


12/10/2019 9:13 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 12/10/2019 3:40 PM
My understanding, NpS is that as ballot envelopes arrive, the signature is checked with what's on file and the ballot is accepted and checked as such. Haven't seen it with my own eyes. In our case, the ballots are mailed to the PM, or dropped off in her office, checked off and kept in a locked box until annual meeting night.

Exactly as I thought. If you don't have a signature on file to check against, then you have nothing to verify that the envelope was signed by the owner.

I suggest that maybe you should change your system though:

1. In addition to signatures, keep a file of all post marks for mail-in ballots.
2. If an envelope does not come from the same mailing address as you have on file, discard the vote - it could be a fake.
3. Send a notice to all owners that all mailing addresses must be on file for their votes to count. If they have 2 homes, but only have one address on file, only that address will be recognized as legitimate. A ballot sent from the other address will be discarded.
4. If anyone is unhappy with your new system, have them send a note to Stan - But make sure it's from the address Stan has on file.


Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/10/2019 9:57 PM  
The outer envelope which is mailed to the Inspector of Elections requires member to print member info (return address area) and signature. The ballot is sealed inside outer envelope. Having the outer envelope postmarked vs metered adds additional safety. As for signatures, one must be required and on file. Even so, inspectors are probably not signature experts. Our HOA checks members info on envelope and if member is in good standing and time received.
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:329


12/11/2019 10:00 AM  
Are elections actually this contentious? I've managed dozens of properties over the course of the last decade or so and I've seen maybe two elections where there were more candidates than open seats on the board.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7395


12/11/2019 10:22 AM  
Funny, NpS.

Stan, how does the postmarked or metered outer envelope make the ballot "safer?" To be clear: in CA, there is an "inner" envelope, which has the completed ballot sealed in it. That inner envelope is inside the outer envelope.

Someone wrote "farfetched." Yes, Stan's surmising that an inspector of election will somehow steal a blank ballot & envelopes, fill it and forge the owner's signature on the outer envelope. 1st, in our HOA, the inspectors don't even see the envelopes till annual mtg. night when they're at their table and the PM gives them the outer envelopes.

So....I guess Stan thinks our PM will commit fraud by turning in 1 or 2 fake ballots inside outer envelopes with Owner's signatures forged on them. And it's true that in my HOA the PM is "friends," her words, with a director and with that director's buddy- an incumbent who sought reelection. There were 6 candidates for 3 openings and all three incumbents were soundly defeated.

This is for Barbara. I only know our HOA of 200+ condos. And every election since '06 has been contested! We had 120 ballots submitted this year, which is unusually high.
MarkW18


Posts:1290


12/11/2019 11:09 AM  
Posted By StanM4 on 12/10/2019 9:57 PM
The outer envelope which is mailed to the Inspector of Elections requires member to print member info (return address area) and signature. The ballot is sealed inside outer envelope. Having the outer envelope postmarked vs metered adds additional safety. As for signatures, one must be required and on file. Even so, inspectors are probably not signature experts. Our HOA checks members info on envelope and if member is in good standing and time received.



Sorry, there is no statue that requires any HOA in California to maintain a signature file, nor it is a requirement to cross check signatures on a outer envelope with a signature you may or may not have on file.

If you also look closely at California statues on HOA elections, it says te HOA's should follow examples that counties in California use to conducts elections. Owners living in an HOA can the power to know who in the HOA has voted, just not have they votes. If properly conducted, the identities of the actual ballots are secret, although I have seen people actually write their name on a ballot. THEY then gave up their secrecy of their ballot, but that is extremely rare.

In addition, anyone in the United States can learn the identity of anyone that has voted in a public election that was conducted by their respective parish or county, just NOT how they voted.
MarkW18


Posts:1290


12/11/2019 11:11 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 12/11/2019 10:22 AM
Yes, Stan's surmising that an inspector of election will somehow steal a blank ballot & envelopes, fill it and forge the owner's signature on the outer envelope.


It has been done!
StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/11/2019 12:41 PM  
Posted By MarkW18 on 12/11/2019 11:11 AM
Posted By KerryL1 on 12/11/2019 10:22 AM
Yes, Stan's surmising that an inspector of election will somehow steal a blank ballot & envelopes, fill it and forge the owner's signature on the outer envelope.


It has been done!




Mark….it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one that may be experiencing possible fraud

KerryL1……..review my post 12/10/2019 10:54 PM & 12/11/2019 12:10 AM. Also, you stated to Barbara: “We had 120 ballots submitted this year, which is unusually high.” Unusually high ballots submitted should make you say….Hmmm, possible fraud? Normally, we have 30-40 out of 60 submitted. A few yrs ago, we had 54 ballots submitted….. unusually high!

KerryL1: Are your ballot return outer envelopes metered or are members required to use their own stamp?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9672


12/11/2019 12:46 PM  
Stan

Could an out of town owner get his mailed ballot to him ballot but then decide to attend the meeting in person and he turns his ballot in at that time. No postmark on that one.

Cheaters cheat. No matter what you put in place, a cheater will find a way to cheat.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9672


12/11/2019 12:47 PM  
Stan

You are looking for the "hanging chad".
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7395


12/11/2019 1:42 PM  
Sorry, Stan, I won't be trying to find the posts you reference. Can you summarize them in a nutshell?

It's not clear that Mark personally has experienced fraud when he says, "it has been done." In our case, no one has access to blank ballots or either of the two distinctive envelopes except the PM. In smaller HOAs, someone else is responsible for these materials. They are not just laying around so that anyone can pick them up and mess with them.

Our unusually high turnout this year was due to a very abusive board majority & president. The three defeated incumbents lost by a lot. Two weeks later, the prez, their friend, resigned from the board with a year left of her term.

It took nine months of factual flyers about the (now) old Board's, um, errors, and then very positive campaigning. Our HOA is proof that if owners find like-minded neighbors, band together and put out a strong, honest, positive message, bad boards can get voted out. Didn't cost us much $, but DID take a lot of time & effort.

No, Stan, we do not waste our resources sending out 200+ metered or stamped envelopes for our annual elections of directors. And I still do not grasp WHY it's a good idea.

I did write above that many HOAs do send out such envelopes for, say, amendments to their CC&rs, which might require a huge % to approve. But we only need 25% of voters for quorum and never have trouble reaching it.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9672


12/11/2019 2:28 PM  
Kerry

We need 20% (of 112 owners) for a Quorum and without Proxies, we would not make it. Some call it apathy. I call it happy owners......LOL
StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/11/2019 3:14 PM  
Sorry, Stan, I won't be trying to find the posts you reference. Can you summarize them in a nutshell?

***** Using metered outer envelopes containing ballots increases the possibility of fraud. I feel this practice should NOT be used.

It's not clear that Mark personally has experienced fraud when he says, "it has been done."

***** Agree. I took Mark’s statement to mean that he’s aware of voting fraud.

In our case, no one has access to blank ballots or either of the two distinctive envelopes except the PM. In smaller HOAs, someone else is responsible for these materials. They are not just laying around so that anyone can pick them up and mess with them.


***** Without going into depth…… to assure board members were re-elected after initial ballot mailing and members returning ballots, members were approached and convinced to redo their vote. Management was in charge of voting material, etc.

Our unusually high turnout this year was due to a very abusive board majority & president. The three defeated incumbents lost by a lot. Two weeks later, the prez, their friend, resigned from the board with a year left of her term.

It took nine months of factual flyers about the (now) old Board's, um, errors, and then very positive campaigning. Our HOA is proof that if owners find like-minded neighbors, band together and put out a strong, honest, positive message, bad boards can get voted out. Didn't cost us much $, but DID take a lot of time & effort.

***** I wish I had the time to respond to the above. Simply put…..CA HOA members need a Sheriff to report / rectify abuse vs using the courts. Congratulations to your members!

No, Stan, we do not waste our resources sending out 200+ metered or stamped envelopes for our annual elections of directors. And I still do not grasp WHY it's a good idea.

***** Kerry, my position is NOT to have envelopes metered. Sorry if I wrote something that caused a misunderstanding.

StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/11/2019 3:24 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 12/11/2019 12:46 PM
Stan

Could an out of town owner get his mailed ballot to him ballot but then decide to attend the meeting in person and he turns his ballot in at that time. No postmark on that one.

Cheaters cheat. No matter what you put in place, a cheater will find a way to cheat.




Point? to your question & statement
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7395


12/11/2019 5:14 PM  
KL: It took nine months of factual flyers about the (now) old Board's, um, errors, and then very positive campaigning. Our HOA is proof that if owners find like-minded neighbors, band together and put out a strong, honest, positive message, bad boards can get voted out. Didn't cost us much $, but DID take a lot of time & effort.

Stan: ***** I wish I had the time to respond to the above. Simply put…..CA HOA members need a Sheriff to report / rectify abuse vs using the courts. Congratulations to your members!

KL: My turn to be clearer. So far as I know, the board majority was not doing anything illegal that I know of. Its abuse was in the form of handling some business that should have been in open meetings, in executive session; writing lengthy board messages in our monthly newsletter that were hyperbolic and sometimes actually false, being rude to owners at monthly open board meetings. The prez dominated these meetings and some directors were mute month after month. I'm not saying that all attorneys on HOA boards are arrogant yet ignorant, but the two on ours were and were able to persuade a couple of other directors that they, the attorneys, were always right, when they often were wrong and knew nothing about CA HOA laws not to mention our own governing documents. Once the 2nd attorney got on th board, everything went south and secrecy and lack of transparency & openness prevailed for two years.

Stan wrote: "***** Without going into depth…… to assure board members were re-elected after initial ballot mailing and members returning ballots, members were approached and convinced to redo their vote. Management was in charge of voting material, etc."

KL: As you know, ballots in CA are irrevocable and this is clearly written in the ballot materials that go to Owners. The PM you speak of is putting their job at a huge risk by engaging in such disguising behavior. How did the PM know how each voter voted so as to ask them to redo their votes? In our hOA, the PM could sometimes guess how someone voted, but in this recent election (end of Oct.), voters were very committed to their candidates. I can't believe any would have "changed" their vote and one or more would have reported the PM to her MC's boss, whom many of us know.

Stan: ***** Kerry, my position is NOT to have envelopes metered. Sorry if I wrote something that caused a misunderstanding.
KL: Other than expense, why not?
StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/11/2019 7:24 PM  
KL: It took nine months of factual flyers about the (now) old Board's, um, errors, and then very positive campaigning. Our HOA is proof that if owners find like-minded neighbors, band together and put out a strong, honest, positive message, bad boards can get voted out. Didn't cost us much $, but DID take a lot of time & effort.

Stan: >>>>>> Unfortunately my 55 min age complex of 60 units has a ~50% non-residency. Of the 30 remaining, about 2-5 attend 1/4ly meetings.

Stan: ***** I wish I had the time to respond to the above. Simply put…..CA HOA members need a Sheriff to report / rectify abuse vs using the courts. Congratulations to your members!

KL: My turn to be clearer. So far as I know, the board majority was not doing anything illegal that I know of. Its abuse was in the form of handling some business that should have been in open meetings, in executive session; writing lengthy board messages in our monthly newsletter that were hyperbolic and sometimes actually false, being rude to owners at monthly open board meetings. The prez dominated these meetings and some directors were mute month after month. I'm not saying that all attorneys on HOA boards are arrogant yet ignorant, but the two on ours were and were able to persuade a couple of other directors that they, the attorneys, were always right, when they often were wrong and knew nothing about CA HOA laws not to mention our own governing documents. Once the 2nd attorney got on th board, everything went south and secrecy and lack of transparency & openness prevailed for two years.

Stan: >>>>>> This is why the “Good” Board needs to decrease set voting rules to hopefully reduce chances of voting fraud. In the above, the Board & attorneys more than likely did whatever they could to keep things status quo. I’ll re-post postal meter vs postmarked below.

As you probably know, CA has changed the election law (SB 225) again beginning Jan. 1, 2020. Our current election laws are obsolete and have to be redone. This will keep lawyers busy!

Stan wrote: "***** Without going into depth…… to assure board members were re-elected after initial ballot mailing and members returning ballots, members were approached and convinced to redo their vote. Management was in charge of voting material, etc."

KL: As you know, ballots in CA are irrevocable and this is clearly written in the ballot materials that go to Owners. The PM you speak of is putting their job at a huge risk by engaging in such disguising behavior. How did the PM know how each voter voted so as to ask them to redo their votes? In our hOA, the PM could sometimes guess how someone voted, but in this recent election (end of Oct.), voters were very committed to their candidates. I can't believe any would have "changed" their vote and one or more would have reported the PM to her MC's boss, whom many of us know.

Stan: >>>>> When you look at the whole picture, PM is not really risking anything. If the Board and PM are working together, it’s your word against theirs. The only recourse you have is to sue. It doesn’t take much to change the mind of elderly or helping those that don’t know what they’re doing. On another note…did you know that if PM gives Board advice and advice is incorrect, PM cannot be held liable. In CA it’s the Boards responsibility to make sure advice was correct.

Stan: ***** Kerry, my position is NOT to have envelopes metered. Sorry if I wrote something that caused a misunderstanding.

KL: Other than expense, why not?

Stan: >>>>> LOL….OK…You win…..Here Goes…..Kerry, this assumes that PM (inspector) are working together.

Ballot receiving Inspector noticed that "Member A" didn't submit their ballot again. To support a specific candidate, a ballot was prepared voting for specific candidate(s) of interest. Ballot was placed in a Metered Envelop and Member A's return address was added. On election day, an appointed inspector checks mailing envelope to determine if "Member A" qualifies to vote by checking return address, etc. All is verified, however, Member A's ballot became suspicious since it is known by some that "Member A" hasn't voted in years. Checking the postmark on the envelope would remove some doubt, especially if "Member A" lives some distance away or possibly never votes.

The above could happen if, for example, PM is the receiving inspector and some members are used to count ballots.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7395


12/12/2019 11:58 AM  
I give up. I'm obviously incapable of following your logic, Stan. I don't get how a metered envelope contributes to fraud. As stated, 25% of our Owners are landlords and many live very far away. About 12% of our voters live here part-time and some of them have 3-4 homes.

Sorry to say our PM turnover is pretty high; they last 2-3 years, so the PM--the only one who deals with the submitted ballot envelopes--would not know that "A" has not voted in years. In your scenario, the PM would have to forge the voter's signature on the outer envelope. The general membership would not know or care who votes often and who never votes.

Our PM is not (and I don't think can be in CA-won't look it up now) an inspector of election. Ours are elected by the Board from volunteers at an open meeting. They may not be related to a candidate or be a director. As you know, there must be 1 or 3 inspectors. A couple of ours are older women, who've tabulated ballots here for years, who are scrupulously honest and good HOA citizens. I personally know all we've had very well. Since they open the outer envelopes at the table where they tabulate--in full view of members--they cannot cheat.

I have no idea how our HOA attorney could contribute to cheating. He's never on the premises and is present and speaks at the annual meeting.

But I do know that both he and the current PM's MC would have preferred the three incumbants had been reelected. Why? Job security. But the incumbents were so confident and arrogant that they didn't bother campaigning. We new directors have some messes to clean up, but will r probably seek a new attorney in the spring and will look at MCs too.

Can cheating occur? Of course. In our HOA, such instances would be very rare and I can't see how more than a small handful of ballots could be tampered with.
MarkW18


Posts:1290


12/12/2019 3:32 PM  
A HOA could use their PM, only IF they had properly adopted election rules that allowed such arrangement. Starting in 2020, that WILL NOT be allowed and it will throw elections into turmoil.

As far as a postmark, if I live in Orlando or Tampa and mail something in those cities, there is NO guarantee that it will be postmark in either one of those cities. So, your argument hold absolutely no validity.

Stan says it is the Board's responsibility to make sure the attorney advice is correct. IF they knew what was correct in the first place, why did they go the attorney?

Can association's cheat? Absolutely, and I have witnessed it first hand. It is much easier than you think to get away with.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2902


12/12/2019 4:50 PM  
Puuulllease let this die.
StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/12/2019 6:19 PM  
Mark

A HOA could use their PM, only IF they had properly adopted election rules that allowed such arrangement. Starting in 2020, that WILL NOT be allowed and it will throw elections into turmoil.

Stan: ***** I agree. In addition, uncontested elections by acclamation is history for the majority of HOAs

As far as a postmark, if I live in Orlando or Tampa and mail something in those cities, there is NO guarantee that it will be postmark in either one of those cities. So, your argument hold absolutely no validity.

Stan: ***** Why are they not postmarked? A postmark is required at the time item was delivered into the care of the postal service.

Stan says it is the Board's responsibility to make sure the attorney advice is correct. IF they knew what was correct in the first place, why did they go the attorney?

Stan: ***** Mark, I didn’t state attorney. PM = Property Management…… “On another note…did you know that if PM gives Board advice and advice is incorrect, PM cannot be held liable. In CA it’s the Boards responsibility to make sure advice was correct.”

Can association's cheat? Absolutely, and I have witnessed it first hand. It is much easier than you think to get away with.

Stan: ***** That's why the law is being changed (1/2020) and disallows anyone that is compensated monetarily from acting as Inspectors.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2902


12/12/2019 6:35 PM  
Die, thread, die.
StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/12/2019 6:52 PM  
Kerry L
stated: “I don't get how a metered envelope contributes to fraud.”

Stan: *****
• Housing complex located in LA

• Management Co is in LA and outer envelopes were metered in LA (cheaper) before sending voting
package to owner’s primary residence in SF

• If owner’s outer envelope with ballot is mailed from SF to LA using a stamp (not metered),
postmark would show mailing from SF (owner’s primary residence)

• If owner’s outer envelope is METERED (vs stamped) it would show mailing from LA not SF.

• A postmark is a postal marking indicating the date and time that an item was delivered into the
“care of the Postal Service.”

• Metered Mail Do Not Require a Postmark as the postmark information (city, state, ZIP Code, and
date) since it’s already included within the meter strip

Postmark may help in ballot validity if outer envelope information is questionable. In other words, it adds a 2nd check point, if necessary. The new law will help minimize voting fraud, but not eliminate it completely.
StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/12/2019 6:53 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/12/2019 6:35 PM
Die, thread, die.




Why?
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3924


12/12/2019 8:59 PM  
Posted By StanM4 on 12/12/2019 6:53 PM
Why?

Has anyone ever seen anything like an election dispute based on postmarks or metered mail? There are ways to address mail-in ballot validity through election procedures that seem to work everywhere else in the country. The thread goes round and round and is not going anywhere because, fundamentally, the OP has invented a wacky conspiracy theory and no one will ever change his mind. I don't like it when sites I frequent enable conspiracy theorists.

I've managed to avoid this thread for the most part, but every day there it is at the top of the list with new posts in it. It's aggravating, that's why I want it to die.

Using postmarked mail to verify someone's identity is seriously out in left field. For crying out loud, use a 2-envelope system and verify signatures. How hard can it be?
StanM4
(California)

Posts:26


12/12/2019 10:00 PM  
Geno S:

Has anyone ever seen anything like an election dispute based on postmarks or metered mail? There are ways to address mail-in ballot validity through election procedures that seem to work everywhere else in the country.

Stan: ***** I didn’t realize you were the Election Master of the US. If I may suggest, please move to CA and help them with election laws. One wonders why CA is redoing the law again since it was changed in 2006. Apparently CA election laws don’t ….as you stated…..”seems to work everywhere else in the country.”

The thread goes round and round and is not going anywhere because, fundamentally, the OP has invented a wacky conspiracy theory and no one will ever change his mind. I don't like it when sites I frequent enable conspiracy theorists.

Stan: ***** My original post was to see if other HOAs meter the outer return envelope containing the ballot. Interestingly, it created a life of its own. Thank goodness for free speech!
Another suggestion: If this topic is too difficult to digest, you do have the choice of only selecting those that are palatable.

I've managed to avoid this thread for the most part, but every day there it is at the top of the list with new posts in it. It's aggravating, that's why I want it to die.

Stan: ***** Try returning to not clicking on the Topic when you see it.

Using postmarked mail to verify someone's identity is seriously out in left field. For crying out loud, use a 2-envelope system and verify signatures. How hard can it be?

Stan: ***** The discussion was the 2-envelope system. Sorry you hadn’t read the entire thread

JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9672


12/13/2019 9:52 AM  
I agree. Stan had a wacky conspiracy theory going and he will not let go.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2902


12/13/2019 12:01 PM  
Die, thread, die!
MarkW18


Posts:1290


12/13/2019 12:34 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/13/2019 12:01 PM
Die, thread, die!



George

I seriously think it is past your bedtime. Until you are chosen a moderator, find another subject to snoop on.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2902


12/13/2019 12:51 PM  
Mark,

You know I appreciate your thoughts.

But, I believe this thread needs to die.

I’m guessing you disagree?
MarkW18


Posts:1290


12/13/2019 1:23 PM  
It will doe it's own death, not before.
MarkW18


Posts:1290


12/13/2019 1:28 PM  
Stan,

I happen to have a lot of expertise in this field both on a local and federal level. Your conspiracy theory on metered mail is completely baseless. Does fraud happen, absolutely, but not through metered or postmarked mail.
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