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Subject: Board Candidate: Can offering free postage be considered a bribe?
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MikeA14


Posts:0


06/25/2021 9:35 AM  
Hello everyone,

I'm running for the board of directors this year for our HOA. So far I've done quite a bit of work to help our community make quorum (which we haven't in quite some time) by creating fliers with the new candidates, creating a campaign website and going door to door and meeting new residents encouraging them to vote. This year, our ballot envelopes did not include paid postage. I'd like to walk my existing route and now offer stamps.

In the interest of only making quorum (where in such an election, votes wouldn't matter because there are an equal number of candidates for the number of available seats), can a candidate go door to door offering stamps in order to encourage participation?

I have run a handful of keyword searches through California codes, and I'm not quite sure if under the election code these actions could be viewed as a bribe.

- Mike
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 9:48 AM  
The answer is no, it would not be a bribe.

The problem with having quorum to elect directors a challenge because the incumbents have no incentive to make quorum as they will hold onto their seat by default. It is on the new people to figure out a way to get elected, which is tough if ballots never get opened due to a lack of quorum. Even if proxies are allowed, a number law firms will disqualify them due to them being due improperly, which is BS, but to the average Joe who doesn't know, it sounds like gospel.

Even this California lawyer/law firm thinks quorum and proxies should be eliminated for the election of directors: https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Eliminating-Quorum
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2599


06/25/2021 10:59 AM  
Going door to door to encourage participation is fine.

I may be an outlier because my reaction to an offer of a stamp would be negative. It's either subtle coercion or a slight insult, implying that I don't participate because I can't afford the danged stamp or that I would need some kind of monetary incentive to do something that's in my best interest.

And of course homeowners would be under no obligation whatsoever to use the stamps the way you want them to, so those with even vestigial consciences get to feel guilty on top of it.

I'm willing to bet that at least some homeowners *would* view it as a bribe even if it doesn't fit the legal definition. It looks funny enough that you're asking about it - and I think elections should be squeaky clean and not even hint at something questionable.

Do your ballots have to be mailed via USPS? Can't they be scanned and emailed - or is that not allowed? There has to be a better way to make quorum... (In my experience, a contested election or hot-button issue usually does it.)
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 11:10 AM  
Cathy,

You are way off base. On this forum it has been said that it would be alright for the HOA to offer prizes or some kind of incentative to show up at the annual meeting, just to make quorum.

California DOES NOT allow email ballots, nor electronic voting, and a majority of HOA's won't send out proxies because they have no clue to to properly create one. I would maybe go a step further and tell the homeowner that it is more important to return the ballot for quorum purposes only.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 11:13 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 06/25/2021 10:59 AM
There has to be a better way to make quorum...


The best way, get rid of it, it isn't needed.

In the City of Los Angeles elections, they wouldn't make quorum under HOA rules.
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:589


06/25/2021 11:23 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 06/25/2021 10:59 AM
Going door to door to encourage participation is fine.

I may be an outlier because my reaction to an offer of a stamp would be negative. It's either subtle coercion or a slight insult, implying that I don't participate because I can't afford the danged stamp or that I would need some kind of monetary incentive to do something that's in my best interest.

And of course homeowners would be under no obligation whatsoever to use the stamps the way you want them to, so those with even vestigial consciences get to feel guilty on top of it.

I'm willing to bet that at least some homeowners *would* view it as a bribe even if it doesn't fit the legal definition. It looks funny enough that you're asking about it - and I think elections should be squeaky clean and not even hint at something questionable.

Do your ballots have to be mailed via USPS? Can't they be scanned and emailed - or is that not allowed? There has to be a better way to make quorum... (In my experience, a contested election or hot-button issue usually does it.)





I wouldn't assume that people thought I couldn't afford a stamp. I would assume that they realize - in this day and age of emails and electronic banking, that most people don't keep stamps in the house because they hardly ever mail anything, and don't have time to go to the post office to mail one thing. I'd be relieved that someone saved me the trouble.

California's HOA election laws are probably the strictest in the country. I think they have to be secret ballots, mailed.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 11:37 AM  
Yes, California does have some of the strictest HOA laws in the country, including those for election. My pet peeve is quorum for the election of directors. I'm working with two State Senators in my neck of the woods to eliminate quorum during the election of directors.

I don't like the idea of a Governor appointing a vacancy to an elected position, I would prefer that the people do the electing of their representatives.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


06/25/2021 12:09 PM  
The way I see it, Mike, is that the optics wouldn't be very good. It just won't "look legitimate." I'd advise against anything that smacks of possible sleaze. You have to think of the "eyes of the beholder," and the varying opinions owners might have of this. In addition, a competitor might imply to others that your'e "cheating," or worse even if untrue.

I don't think it's against CA Davis-Stirling statutes nor is there probably anything in your election rules (which I hope your HOA updated last year) preventing giving out stamps. Ever since mail in ballots were permitted in CA back in '06, our HOA never has trouble making quorum (we have about 22-25% absentee landlords). But we're a high rise with a management office on the premises where onsite owners can easily had deliver their ballots. Some do attend the annual meeting and bring their ballot in double sealed envelopes with them. NO ONE submits proxies anymore because voting is so easy.

Yes, in CA, ballots must be secret and in a double envelope system. We don't send out stamped envelopes but you can bet we will when we send out restatements of our bylaws & CC&Rs. Our Board probably also will offer drawings for gift certificates and other incentives.

JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


06/25/2021 12:23 PM  
Mike

If me, I would offer a SASE to mail a proxy in.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 12:40 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 06/25/2021 12:23 PM
Mike

If me, I would offer a SASE to mail a proxy in.



??????

And who would the proxy holder be?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


06/25/2021 12:45 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/25/2021 12:40 PM
Posted By JohnC46 on 06/25/2021 12:23 PM
Mike

If me, I would offer a SASE to mail a proxy in.



??????

And who would the proxy holder be?



If I was running, as the OP is, I would make it a 2 part proxy. Part 1 for Quorum. Part 2, designating me as the Proxy holder.

I love proxies. I agree they are often not understood and quite often are misused but that is not the proxies' fault.

Without proxies, we would not make Quorum for our Annual Meeting.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 12:57 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 06/25/2021 12:45 PM
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/25/2021 12:40 PM
Posted By JohnC46 on 06/25/2021 12:23 PM
Mike

If me, I would offer a SASE to mail a proxy in.



??????

And who would the proxy holder be?



If I was running, as the OP is, I would make it a 2 part proxy. Part 1 for Quorum. Part 2, designating me as the Proxy holder.

I love proxies. I agree they are often not understood and quite often are misused but that is not the proxies' fault.

Without proxies, we would not make Quorum for our Annual Meeting.



So, why would you offer a SASE and send the proxy in? You collect proxies in order to vote. For instance, what if quorum is not reached and you have to adjourn the meeting. The only people that can legally adjourn the meeting are the people person in person or by proxy.

Even people who love them don't know how to use them.
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17852


06/25/2021 1:01 PM  
I also don't think you should offer stamps.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4290


06/25/2021 1:05 PM  
When my association sends out proxies for our annual meeting, the envelopes have postage (metered), but in your case, I think it best to simply encourage people to vote. You can explain how the proxies work to the newbies, but stick to the basics.

I would hope people can at least afford one stamp - it's only 55 cents for first-class mail, which is cheaper than a can of soda (for the moment). And if you're going to bribe anyone, the price should be considerably more to make it worth your while.....
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


06/25/2021 1:08 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/25/2021 12:57 PM
Posted By JohnC46 on 06/25/2021 12:45 PM
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/25/2021 12:40 PM
Posted By JohnC46 on 06/25/2021 12:23 PM
Mike

If me, I would offer a SASE to mail a proxy in.



??????

And who would the proxy holder be?



If I was running, as the OP is, I would make it a 2 part proxy. Part 1 for Quorum. Part 2, designating me as the Proxy holder.

I love proxies. I agree they are often not understood and quite often are misused but that is not the proxies' fault.

Without proxies, we would not make Quorum for our Annual Meeting.



So, why would you offer a SASE and send the proxy in? You collect proxies in order to vote. For instance, what if quorum is not reached and you have to adjourn the meeting. The only people that can legally adjourn the meeting are the people person in person or by proxy.

Even people who love them don't know how to use them.




I was trying to be helpful to the OP but personally,
I would collect them.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 1:09 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 06/25/2021 1:01 PM
I also don't think you should offer stamps.



The guy would like to get on the board and it's not ok to facilitate getting the ballot to the Post Office, but Kerry's HOA and the Board she sits on wants to restate their governing documents, probably for their benefit and "you can bet we will have stamped envelopes and BTW we will offer prizes". I am assuming at the HOA's expense.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 1:15 PM  
Because California HOA's vote by mail, proxies are not needed, nor encouraged.

My favorite lawyer: https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Eliminating-Proxies
MikeA14


Posts:0


06/25/2021 1:23 PM  
I didn't expect this amount of participation so soon, thank you for the responses everyone! Just to clarify, I'm specifically interested in any case law examples or California code citing that would prevent me from handing them out legally, but definitely appreciate any moral reasoning as well. I wanted to provide just a little more background as well in case it helps explain my motive.

Our HOA has not made quorum in over 10 years (or more - we have one current member who served for 30 years). Four of the current board members are not running this year and we have four new candidates (all of us are basically on the same page). So, seven seats and seven candidates - the votes technically don't matter we just need to make quorum.

We also have a small group of residents supporting us, somewhat part of the campaign. This entire group including candidates have helped pass out fliers and also want to contribute to solve the stamp situation. Some of them were talking about a lemonade like stand "Stamps for sale here". If I chose to do nothing, it's likely the group will still do something, I just wanted to make sure that if I could legally help I would.

I've spoken with 135 residents already, but that is just barely 25% of our community and so far I've received good support. My original plan of handing out stamps would be for those residents I've already spoken with, some of which are veterans and disabled so obviously it may be difficult for them *if* they don't already have stamps.

A final point I wanted to make is that I know for a fact that the board does not want to make quorum (the president told me). Aside from this fact there are other red flags, which is why this is such an important election for us.

I'm still reading through all the responses and based on them, I'm leaning toward not handing them out.

- Mike
MikeA14


Posts:0


06/25/2021 1:37 PM  
This is great information, thank you. I actually wasn't aware that quorum / cumulative votes were optional for elections.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


06/25/2021 1:39 PM  
What % of owners must vote to make quorum for an election of directors, Mike?

What worked best for us when wanting to get new folks on the Board was positive campaign flyers. Per CA statute, you may use any common area meeting rooms, clubhouse etc. to host a campaign event for you four. The HOA must not change you for the rooms under CA laws.



MikeA14


Posts:0


06/25/2021 1:42 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 06/25/2021 1:39 PM
What % of owners must vote to make quorum for an election of directors, Mike?

What worked best for us when wanting to get new folks on the Board was positive campaign flyers. Per CA statute, you may use any common area meeting rooms, clubhouse etc. to host a campaign event for you four. The HOA must not change you for the rooms under CA laws.







Our bylaws state over 50%. Then we are allowed to adjourn between 5-30 days and recount at 25%. I suspect it will be up to the residents to make this motion and second, since it's unlikely the board will do it.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 1:49 PM  
I happen to own a management company in California and also do elections for HOA's that are not under contract t our company, as per new California statues.

You have a dilemma. As a candidate, you can't collect ballots and turn them in, but you could go around and solicit proxies, if you had one to use. Most HOA's will not provide one. If the Board did not want a proxy being distributed, they could go to their attorney and have it ruled invalid for no reason.

Same scenario happened to me in 2009. 317 homes, and no ballots had been opened for 8 years because not enough to make quorum. At the 2009 annual meeting, the lawyer would not allow the meeting to be adjourned because the people who turned in ballots were not at the meeting, so meeting cancelled and Board remained the same. Two months later, re-stated the Bylaws and eliminated quorum and proxies. The vote was 239-1 in favor of the new Bylaws. Now they actually open ballots every year.

Yes, it is up to the people who actually attend the annual meeting to adjourn the meeting where a lower number, in your case, is required. It is not up to the Board, as this is NOT a Board meeting. But, and I had this happen two years ago, where the board president got enough of his friend to vote no on the adjournment, thus the meeting was over and the board remained the same. That is legal, that is politics, you just have to know how the game is played.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


06/25/2021 1:52 PM  
In Ca, Mike, candidates may use common area amenities like clubhouse or meeting rooms to host campaign events. For free. All four of you should get together and do just that. It's fine to call it: Coffee with xx, xx, xx & xx." See cookies too.

Also send our flyers from you 4. Be positive -- what you want to do-- and say that you all agree on certain fundamentals, but are independent and open minded people.

In CA HOAs, campaign flyers may be posted on community bulletin boards. No matter what your CC&Rs or Rules say, you may have non-commercial signs in your homes' windows. See davis-stirling.com, Index, Flags, signs & Banners or a similar heading.

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


06/25/2021 2:01 PM  
"...Kerry's HOA and the Board she sits on wants to restate their governing documents, probably for their benefit and 'you can bet we will have stamped envelopes and BTW we will offer prizes.' I am assuming at the HOA's expense."

HOA boards routinely offer incentives to get out the vote especially when they need a supermajority to restate, say, their CC&Rs as we do. It's a lot cheaper for me & my neighbors to offer a few hundred dollars worth of certificates, than to go to court to get a judge to approve our restatement.

Looks like Max's "Unhappy Hour" started early today. First, sniping at JohnC here & elsewhere. Max: Show evidence that I (and the current Board) would restate CC&Rs "to our benefit." That's a disgusting accusation and should, imo, moderators, not be permitted on this forum.

This is a shame, Mike, because Max CAN offer valid advice about CA HOAs.

MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 2:03 PM  
Candidate flyers, town hall meetings, candidate websites is all well and good, the only part that really matters is getting that ballot turned in.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 2:16 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 06/25/2021 2:01 PM
"...Kerry's HOA and the Board she sits on wants to restate their governing documents, probably for their benefit and 'you can bet we will have stamped envelopes and BTW we will offer prizes.' I am assuming at the HOA's expense."

HOA boards routinely offer incentives to get out the vote especially when they need a supermajority to restate, say, their CC&Rs as we do. It's a lot cheaper for me & my neighbors to offer a few hundred dollars worth of certificates, than to go to court to get a judge to approve our restatement.

Looks like Max's "Unhappy Hour" started early today. First, sniping at JohnC here & elsewhere. Max: Show evidence that I (and the current Board) would restate CC&Rs "to our benefit." That's a disgusting accusation and should, imo, moderators, not be permitted on this forum.

This is a shame, Mike, because Max CAN offer valid advice about CA HOAs.




Actually the comment I made was directed to Tim. Why would you pay postage on the governing documents and not for elections? Remember, I do this do a living, so when an HOA is asking for change, it's the boards, not the homeowners asking. So my comment was, if the HOA can and does do it, why shouldn't a person trying to get on a board not be allowed or be discouraged from providing the same postage as the HOA.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


06/25/2021 2:48 PM  
Look, Max, my HOA requires 25% of owners to reach quorum for director elections. Of that number (about 56), a simple majority wins. WE easily have achieved quorum for many many years.

Our CC&Rs requires 67% of all owners to approve amending our CC&Rs. Much more difficult to achieve. So we'll incentivize.

Your nasty insult was of me and my board re: CC&Rs restatement. Your words, Max, had nothing to do with Tim's one-line opinion.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 3:19 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 06/25/2021 2:48 PM
Look, Max, my HOA requires 25% of owners to reach quorum for director elections. Of that number (about 56), a simple majority wins. WE easily have achieved quorum for many many years.

Our CC&Rs requires 67% of all owners to approve amending our CC&Rs. Much more difficult to achieve. So we'll incentivize.

Your nasty insult was of me and my board re: CC&Rs restatement. Your words, Max, had nothing to do with Tim's one-line opinion.



I know how elections are run in California and I also know how reduced quorum works. I am happy you reached quorum in your ivory tower. My HOA didn't for the first eight years of its existence and Mike's hasn't for the past 10 years. I know many other similar stories.

I worked for a law firm that owned a management company. The owner would sell restated governing documents to HOA, and I worked on eight of them. I also said probably, but the comment was based on experience. All the ones I had worked on for the law firm were initiated by the Boards. I could care less how the HOA incentivizes the owners to get their ballots in, its your money. You would get mad at me just because.

When we re-did the Bylaws, our lawyer, board and PM fought us tooth and nail all along the way. We went door to door to collect ballots over three weeks. Never offered to pay for a stamp. We needed 51% and got 75%. 45 ballots were mailed in and the lawyer was called to come to the meeting to have it cancelled, because of a lack of ballots. Two of the inspectors were homeowners and they delivered the other 195 ballots 10 minutes before the polls closed. You had one pissed off lawyer who had to stay until all 240 ballots were verified, opened, separated and then counted.
MikeA14


Posts:0


06/25/2021 3:28 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/25/2021 3:19 PM
Posted By KerryL1 on 06/25/2021 2:48 PM
Look, Max, my HOA requires 25% of owners to reach quorum for director elections. Of that number (about 56), a simple majority wins. WE easily have achieved quorum for many many years.

Our CC&Rs requires 67% of all owners to approve amending our CC&Rs. Much more difficult to achieve. So we'll incentivize.

Your nasty insult was of me and my board re: CC&Rs restatement. Your words, Max, had nothing to do with Tim's one-line opinion.



I know how elections are run in California and I also know how reduced quorum works. I am happy you reached quorum in your ivory tower. My HOA didn't for the first eight years of its existence and Mike's hasn't for the past 10 years. I know many other similar stories.

I worked for a law firm that owned a management company. The owner would sell restated governing documents to HOA, and I worked on eight of them. I also said probably, but the comment was based on experience. All the ones I had worked on for the law firm were initiated by the Boards. I could care less how the HOA incentivizes the owners to get their ballots in, its your money. You would get mad at me just because.

When we re-did the Bylaws, our lawyer, board and PM fought us tooth and nail all along the way. We went door to door to collect ballots over three weeks. Never offered to pay for a stamp. We needed 51% and got 75%. 45 ballots were mailed in and the lawyer was called to come to the meeting to have it cancelled, because of a lack of ballots. Two of the inspectors were homeowners and they delivered the other 195 ballots 10 minutes before the polls closed. You had one pissed off lawyer who had to stay until all 240 ballots were verified, opened, separated and then counted.




Max I then look forward to your response as someone who has experience in this area, especially in California. In the interest of us making quorum and nothing else, what do you suggest is my next course of action if not to provide a stamp? Just go door to door and ask if there were any issues mailing their ballot / encourage them to buy a stamp? My understanding of our Bylaws is that if this election fails, we can still go around and get signatures to replace the entire board instead. Our current board has seemingly taken steps to ensure this process is as painful as possible this year, so I appreciate any suggestions.

On that note as well, is my assessment correct that if during the meeting, we do not make quorum at 50%, any voting member in the meeting can motion and second to adjourn the meeting in the future (where we would then only need 25% for quorum). Note this is going to be an online only meeting through GoToMeeting. How exactly does that work and what details should we watch for? (Do we need a certain participation of the membership at the meeting, what if the board tries to veto - do I shout "Point of order, the membership has made a motion and seconded", etc.)
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 3:31 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 06/25/2021 12:09 PM
The way I see it, Mike, is that the optics wouldn't be very good. It just won't "look legitimate." I'd advise against anything that smacks of possible sleaze. You have to think of the "eyes of the beholder," and the varying opinions owners might have of this. In addition, a competitor might imply to others that your'e "cheating," or worse even if untrue.

I don't think it's against CA Davis-Stirling statutes nor is there probably anything in your election rules (which I hope your HOA updated last year) preventing giving out stamps. Ever since mail in ballots were permitted in CA back in '06, our HOA never has trouble making quorum (we have about 22-25% absentee landlords). But we're a high rise with a management office on the premises where onsite owners can easily had deliver their ballots. Some do attend the annual meeting and bring their ballot in double sealed envelopes with them. NO ONE submits proxies anymore because voting is so easy.

Yes, in CA, ballots must be secret and in a double envelope system. We don't send out stamped envelopes but you can bet we will when we send out restatements of our bylaws & CC&Rs. Our Board probably also will offer drawings for gift certificates and other incentives.




So Kerry, who initiates the new, restated Bylaws and CCRs, the Board or the Homeowners, and who benefits from the changes, the Association (the Board represents the Association) or the Homeowners?
MikeA14


Posts:0


06/25/2021 3:43 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/25/2021 1:49 PM
I happen to own a management company in California and also do elections for HOA's that are not under contract t our company, as per new California statues.

You have a dilemma. As a candidate, you can't collect ballots and turn them in, but you could go around and solicit proxies, if you had one to use. Most HOA's will not provide one. If the Board did not want a proxy being distributed, they could go to their attorney and have it ruled invalid for no reason.

Same scenario happened to me in 2009. 317 homes, and no ballots had been opened for 8 years because not enough to make quorum. At the 2009 annual meeting, the lawyer would not allow the meeting to be adjourned because the people who turned in ballots were not at the meeting, so meeting cancelled and Board remained the same. Two months later, re-stated the Bylaws and eliminated quorum and proxies. The vote was 239-1 in favor of the new Bylaws. Now they actually open ballots every year.

Yes, it is up to the people who actually attend the annual meeting to adjourn the meeting where a lower number, in your case, is required. It is not up to the Board, as this is NOT a Board meeting. But, and I had this happen two years ago, where the board president got enough of his friend to vote no on the adjournment, thus the meeting was over and the board remained the same. That is legal, that is politics, you just have to know how the game is played.




My apologies, I missed your reply here. I'll look into this, thanks.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 3:48 PM  
Mike

Here are two sample proxies, one for cumulative and one for non-cumulative voting.

https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Proxy-Cumulative-Voting

https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Proxy-Noncumulative

How many units in your HOA. Let's say you have 100 units, 51 would be needed for the first meeting, and 26 for the adjourned meeting. Yes, a member, in attendance, can make a motion to adjourn and another person would second. If you have proxies, you hold the power because of the number of filled out proxies in your hot hands. I am not sure how your elected is being conducted, in person or via Zoom or the like. If virtual, you will need to send the proxies in, BUT have a copy for the meeting. You also need to get as many to attend the GoToMeeting as possible or have a bunch of proxies on hand. I would find out from the Inspector how many ballots have been received. Hopefully you have a membership list of all owners and their mailing address. You can also request email address for those stored by the Association or Management company.

My suggestion, because the board won't lend any assistance, go door to door and get proxies, if proxies are allowed. Hope you have Election Rules for the Association, because IF they don't the election is n ull and void and must start from scratch.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:794


06/25/2021 3:52 PM  
"So Kerry, who initiates the new, restated Bylaws and CCRs, the Board or the Homeowners, and who benefits from the changes, the Association (the Board represents the Association) or the Homeowners?"

Max, Today our new governing documents became official and were posted to the county deed site. This was a 14 month effort. The answer to your question is that both our homeowners and the board initiated it and we both benefit from it. Our 40 year old docs were confusing and had conflicting information that drove homeowners nuts. They hated how different boards interpreted our old docs differently and this led to inconsistent ARC approvals, approvals for maintenance requests and fines. From a board perspective it helps us make better decisions and we had been warned by our lawyer that the old docs had sections in it that were not legal by today's standards.

If you are saying that homeowners don't benefit from restated bylaws and CCR's that is certainly not my experience.
MikeA14


Posts:0


06/25/2021 4:16 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/25/2021 3:48 PM
Mike

Here are two sample proxies, one for cumulative and one for non-cumulative voting.

https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Proxy-Cumulative-Voting

https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Proxy-Noncumulative

How many units in your HOA. Let's say you have 100 units, 51 would be needed for the first meeting, and 26 for the adjourned meeting. Yes, a member, in attendance, can make a motion to adjourn and another person would second. If you have proxies, you hold the power because of the number of filled out proxies in your hot hands. I am not sure how your elected is being conducted, in person or via Zoom or the like. If virtual, you will need to send the proxies in, BUT have a copy for the meeting. You also need to get as many to attend the GoToMeeting as possible or have a bunch of proxies on hand. I would find out from the Inspector how many ballots have been received. Hopefully you have a membership list of all owners and their mailing address. You can also request email address for those stored by the Association or Management company.

My suggestion, because the board won't lend any assistance, go door to door and get proxies, if proxies are allowed. Hope you have Election Rules for the Association, because IF they don't the election is n ull and void and must start from scratch.




We have 506 homes (so 253 for 50% and 126 for 25%). I hadn't considered proxies and it looks like those are allowed so I'll have a look into that potentially using the D|S template. I have obtained a directory for the entire membership which is what I used when going door to door initially to connect with at least 25% (there are many owners on our unofficial social media page which covers quite a bit of the membership as well).
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 4:19 PM  
Posted By JohnT38 on 06/25/2021 3:52 PM
"So Kerry, who initiates the new, restated Bylaws and CCRs, the Board or the Homeowners, and who benefits from the changes, the Association (the Board represents the Association) or the Homeowners?"

Max, Today our new governing documents became official and were posted to the county deed site. This was a 14 month effort. The answer to your question is that both our homeowners and the board initiated it and we both benefit from it. Our 40 year old docs were confusing and had conflicting information that drove homeowners nuts. They hated how different boards interpreted our old docs differently and this led to inconsistent ARC approvals, approvals for maintenance requests and fines. From a board perspective it helps us make better decisions and we had been warned by our lawyer that the old docs had sections in it that were not legal by today's standards.

If you are saying that homeowners don't benefit from restated bylaws and CCR's that is certainly not my experience.



I have been handling restated docs for a number of years and know how the process works. All Kerry had to say was both benefitted from the changes.

I have a few docs from the 1970's, never been changed. There are no Architectural Guidelines, Rules and Regulations, its fly by the seat of your pants. The rules are whatever a board member wakes up to at that "Unhappy Hours".
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 4:25 PM  
Posted By MikeA14 on 06/25/2021 4:16 PM
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/25/2021 3:48 PM
Mike

Here are two sample proxies, one for cumulative and one for non-cumulative voting.

https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Proxy-Cumulative-Voting

https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Proxy-Noncumulative

How many units in your HOA. Let's say you have 100 units, 51 would be needed for the first meeting, and 26 for the adjourned meeting. Yes, a member, in attendance, can make a motion to adjourn and another person would second. If you have proxies, you hold the power because of the number of filled out proxies in your hot hands. I am not sure how your elected is being conducted, in person or via Zoom or the like. If virtual, you will need to send the proxies in, BUT have a copy for the meeting. You also need to get as many to attend the GoToMeeting as possible or have a bunch of proxies on hand. I would find out from the Inspector how many ballots have been received. Hopefully you have a membership list of all owners and their mailing address. You can also request email address for those stored by the Association or Management company.

My suggestion, because the board won't lend any assistance, go door to door and get proxies, if proxies are allowed. Hope you have Election Rules for the Association, because IF they don't the election is n ull and void and must start from scratch.




We have 506 homes (so 253 for 50% and 126 for 25%). I hadn't considered proxies and it looks like those are allowed so I'll have a look into that potentially using the D|S template. I have obtained a directory for the entire membership which is what I used when going door to door initially to connect with at least 25% (there are many owners on our unofficial social media page which covers quite a bit of the membership as well).



That's a tough hill to climb and you won't get any help from the Board. Probably not from the attorney or PM as they might be afraid of change. You would be best served to get a slate together to help share the expense and walking to get the proxies.

Ten years ago I helped an association of 1200 homes re-write their Bylaws to eliminate quorum for director elections. They needed 612 yes votes to pass, but got it done the first go around.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 5:03 PM  
Posted By MikeA14 on 06/25/2021 3:43 PM
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/25/2021 1:49 PM
I happen to own a management company in California and also do elections for HOA's that are not under contract t our company, as per new California statues.

You have a dilemma. As a candidate, you can't collect ballots and turn them in, but you could go around and solicit proxies, if you had one to use. Most HOA's will not provide one. If the Board did not want a proxy being distributed, they could go to their attorney and have it ruled invalid for no reason.

Same scenario happened to me in 2009. 317 homes, and no ballots had been opened for 8 years because not enough to make quorum. At the 2009 annual meeting, the lawyer would not allow the meeting to be adjourned because the people who turned in ballots were not at the meeting, so meeting cancelled and Board remained the same. Two months later, re-stated the Bylaws and eliminated quorum and proxies. The vote was 239-1 in favor of the new Bylaws. Now they actually open ballots every year.

Yes, it is up to the people who actually attend the annual meeting to adjourn the meeting where a lower number, in your case, is required. It is not up to the Board, as this is NOT a Board meeting. But, and I had this happen two years ago, where the board president got enough of his friend to vote no on the adjournment, thus the meeting was over and the board remained the same. That is legal, that is politics, you just have to know how the game is played.




My apologies, I missed your reply here. I'll look into this, thanks.



Here is an article by a lawyer I respect, https://www.ocregister.com/2020/09/18/hoa-homefront-its-time-to-discontinue-the-troubling-unnecessary-proxy/
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


06/25/2021 5:53 PM  
My advice above, works, Mike. I did suggest that you 4 candidates work together. Max did repeat me. I wrote that I hope you have updated election rules and Max repeated me again. I won't repeat the rest.

Your Bylaws may or may not allow cumulative voting. Ours do. We've done cumulative and non-cumulative voting for directors just about every other years and It does not increase turnout. Just skip it.

Max, you've seen my advice here for several years. You have never seen any that shows I'm self serving or would try to change CC&Rs to benefit my SELF or the current board. Apologize.

Our current Board is just part of a long list of owners and directors who've wanted our CC&Rs restated. It's been the works over three years. We're 20 years old and JohnT's experience is similar to ours. One Board though dragged its heels because they could not even comprehend two important sections of them

H Kudos, JohnT for helping in making it happen!

Mike is there someplace on your premises where Owners may drop off their ballots? When is the election? Does your ballot have a box to check "for quorum only?"
MikeA14


Posts:0


06/25/2021 5:59 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 06/25/2021 5:53 PM
My advice above, works, Mike. I did suggest that you 4 candidates work together. Max did repeat me. I wrote that I hope you have updated election rules and Max repeated me again. I won't repeat the rest.

Your Bylaws may or may not allow cumulative voting. Ours do. We've done cumulative and non-cumulative voting for directors just about every other years and It does not increase turnout. Just skip it.

Max, you've seen my advice here for several years. You have never seen any that shows I'm self serving or would try to change CC&Rs to benefit my SELF or the current board. Apologize.

Our current Board is just part of a long list of owners and directors who've wanted our CC&Rs restated. It's been the works over three years. We're 20 years old and JohnT's experience is similar to ours. One Board though dragged its heels because they could not even comprehend two important sections of them

H Kudos, JohnT for helping in making it happen!

Mike is there someplace on your premises where Owners may drop off their ballots? When is the election? Does your ballot have a box to check "for quorum only?"




This year the vote is entirely by mail and the counting is over the internet - no in-person meeting, no ballot box on the premises. Our ballot does have a "for quorum only" option on the back, yes.
We use cumulative voting currently, which always confuses a great deal of members. I'm of the opinion that since our Civil code states it's optional, why have it if it not only causes confusion but has the tendency to void some ballots.

Since there are so many instructions and nuances with the ballots, I imagine that English as a secondary language is another barrier to achieving quorum for a lot of our residents.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 6:23 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 06/25/2021 5:53 PM
My advice above, works, Mike. I did suggest that you 4 candidates work together. Max did repeat me. I wrote that I hope you have updated election rules and Max repeated me again. I won't repeat the rest.

Your Bylaws may or may not allow cumulative voting. Ours do. We've done cumulative and non-cumulative voting for directors just about every other years and It does not increase turnout. Just skip it.

Max, you've seen my advice here for several years. You have never seen any that shows I'm self serving or would try to change CC&Rs to benefit my SELF or the current board. Apologize.

Our current Board is just part of a long list of owners and directors who've wanted our CC&Rs restated. It's been the works over three years. We're 20 years old and JohnT's experience is similar to ours. One Board though dragged its heels because they could not even comprehend two important sections of them

H Kudos, JohnT for helping in making it happen!

Mike is there someplace on your premises where Owners may drop off their ballots? When is the election? Does your ballot have a box to check "for quorum only?"



Actually Kerry I didn't. I said get a slate, you said 4. I added a caveat you didn't, if there are no election rules, the process is over. Prior to 2020 you could get away with not having them, no longer.

I curious how you do cumulative and non-cumulative voting.

The other, well, when they serve water in hell.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 6:25 PM  
Mike,

If cumulative is allowed in the Bylaws, until it is eliminated by an amendment or restatement of the Bylaws, you must offer per Corporations Code.
MikeA14


Posts:0


06/25/2021 6:26 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/25/2021 6:25 PM
Mike,

If cumulative is allowed in the Bylaws, until it is eliminated by an amendment or restatement of the Bylaws, you must offer per Corporations Code.




I understand that , thank you.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 6:27 PM  
Ice water, that is.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 6:27 PM  
Ice water, that is.
MikeA14


Posts:0


06/25/2021 6:27 PM  
Just one comment; again I appreciate the responses but it would be great to focus on solutions and facts if possible. The jabs going back and forth is a little distracting.

This forum was recommended as a group of professionals and so far these interactions are a bit discouraging.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


06/25/2021 7:09 PM  
Sorry, Mike. I apparently don't take personal attacks.

When is your annual meeting?? How can it be "online only" and still have it be a meeting of the members (owners)??? It's members who'll motion to approve last year's annual mtg. minutes, and members who'll motion to close the balloting, etc. How can members observe online the inspectors of election counting the ballots, which is required by CA statute and, your election rules? You do have the latter, right?

Your Board sounds like it's practicing the voter repression that's a problem today in many states.

Where will Owners send their secret envelope ballots? How is your Board handling (I assume) monthly open meetings? Can't you and other owners during open forum ask for a secure ballot box on your premises for secret envelop ballots? What is you Prop. Mgr's role in your elections, if any?

If your Bylaws say so, you must offer cumulative voting, as you know. But depending on the wording, the board can offer it at an open meeting. This Tuesday night, among other agenda items, our open board meeting will have a Consent Calendar, where we'll approve a bunch of items for our annual meeting. This will be our first meeting that owners can attend in person in 15 moths! We're also keeping our Zoom meeting capacity (we hope!).

I'm Board secretary and will read the Consent Calendar (aka Consent Agenda) of several routine election items. Then, we have 3 items that require motions. I ask for volunteers for our (Bylaw-required) Nominating Committee; the Board votes to accept them The next motion is to approve three volunteers to be inspectors of election. The last item on this topic. Is: "Does anyone want to announce for cumulative voting?" I pretty quickly will then say. "Hearing none, there will be no cumulative voting." As everyone recommends, we'll get rid of that for our Bylaws restatement. You're right, it confuses our Owners too when we offer it.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/25/2021 7:14 PM  
The best of luck to you, Kerry can handle it from here on in.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


06/26/2021 9:14 AM  
Prior to turnover, our Declarant appointed, owners BOD recommended he make several Covenant/Bylaw changes one of which was remove Cumulative voting. He did.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


06/26/2021 6:39 PM  
Back to Mike's actual inquiry. I think a sand selling stamps is a good idea. IF there's a place on your premises that has a lot of foot traffic.

To kick out some bad boards in '07 & '19 our group also sent out very positive mailers by USPS to every owner about what we expected to accomplish.
RickL9
(South Carolina)

Posts:2


06/27/2021 2:18 PM  
Can you show us a copy of a flyer?

Thanks...Rick
RickL9
(South Carolina)

Posts:2


06/27/2021 2:18 PM  
Can you show us a copy of a flyer?

Thanks...Rick
MikeA14


Posts:0


06/27/2021 2:20 PM  
Posted By RickL9 on 06/27/2021 2:18 PM
Can you show us a copy of a flyer?

Thanks...Rick




In the interest and consideration of the other candidates privacy, I’m sorry but no I am unable to.
MikeA14


Posts:0


06/29/2021 9:31 PM  
Just to follow up here, one of the residents ended up going with the Stamp stand, selling stamps at cost in a common area near the entrance to the community.

It was a hit; no complaints, all thanks, lots of stamps sold and my hands are clean of it.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


06/30/2021 8:56 AM  
Sounds good, Mike!
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Board Candidate: Can offering free postage be considered a bribe?



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