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Election rules help please

We are about to have our election which 11 are running for 7 positions. Our ByLaws state “The annual meeting of membership shall be the first Monday in May”. So: ballots were due in by 4/27. Board announced votes will be counted Sat 5/1 and all candidates could be present to observe, then our annual meeting will be Sun 5/2 where board will be announced. Our Bylaws state: “At this meeting the Election Committee will report the results of the election. The elected Board members will elect the officers and will seat the new Board of Directors.” So I guess no big deal they are having meeting on Sun vs Mon, but since votes counted day before the Annual meeting is there any legal obligation for the results to be told to the 11 candidates? Is there any other legal guidance you can refer me to as to WHO gets to be the President vs all the other officers? Like is the top vote getter the Pres? By Laws don’t say and in past years (according to those that can remember we’ve ever had an election in the past) the group gets together and says ok, I think David should be our president…???!! Thank you again for your help!

3 Responses

  1. dennisl

    Carol,

    Your bylaws are typical to all similar communities. The community elects the board for whatever term the bylaws specify and the new board then elects the officers of the association for one year terms. That ensures that any new board member elected in any specific year has an equal opportunity to run and get an officer position.

    While Arizona law requires associations to provide for both in-person and absentee ballots the pandemic has caused most associations to eliminate in person meetings. So while technically any association that does not provide for in person voting at the annual meeting of the community is violating the law, there is probably no court that would find the association culpable under these unprecedented circumstances.

    There is no legal requirement for the association to inform the candidates other than the announcement to the entire community. One issue that is important is that the association is required under the law to retain all ballots and related documentation including any signed ballot envelopes as association records for one year and make those records available to any member wishing to see them. If anyone questions the validity of the ballot count then they can request to see all the ballot material including the ballots them selves in that year after the election.

    Dennis

  2. John

    Hi,
    Do you know how long a board member can serve as director? Can the director of the board vote himself as president?
    Are there two subject areas involved:
    1. Board of Directors
    2. Assigned or voted persons by the the Board for positions of: President, Vice President, Treasure and Secretary.

    The current President of the Board has been in place for over 10 years! Is this allowed?
    He always somehow gets himself appointed as President.

    Thanks

    1. dennisl

      John,

      I know of no governing document that ever established term limits for board members. I tried one time in the past to get a bill limiting Common Interest Community boards member term to 4 consecutive terms just like our State Senators and Representatives, but it never saw the light of day. The members of the association elect the board members for whatever term defined in the bylaws. The elected board then elect the officers every year. If no one is willing to step up and contest the automatic election of the president that will continue as long as he wants. What I see in many communities is that elections are actually not held every year like they are required in State law using the excuse that the association called a meeting but did not get a quorum of members to respond. The law actually states that meeting of the members must be held annually. not just called. It can only be held if a quorum is present. I’ve seen communities that had board members on the board for 15 years without ever holding an election once in all of those 15 years. So they continue the past board members for another year. For 15 years they ignored the law and got away with it. That community had a quorum requirement of 60% of all homeowners. The bylaws allowed the board to change that number to whatever they felt appropriate but they never did because they liked their arrangement of never having to be held accountable to the members. When the board population in a community does not turn over often that always causes problems in these communities because the board members feel empowered to do what ever they want with impunity.

      Dennis

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