What Is an Elections Inspector?

AdobeStock_128645275Whenever a vote uses secret ballots, it’s important to have a third party to control the votes, so there is no tampering. In fact, in a California HOA, when secret ballots are required for a vote, the association must have an elections inspector. To learn more about inspectors of elections, check out these three FAQs.

Who Can Be an Elections Inspector?      

You can’t choose just anyone to be the elections inspector. Some common examples of who can be an inspector include a volunteer poll worker, a licensee of the CBA, a notary, or a member of the association (they cannot be a director or be related to one). Unless the association’s election rules say otherwise, the inspector cannot be a third party who is employed by or has a contract with the association for compensable services. For example, you couldn’t choose the community manager as the inspector. Lastly, the inspector cannot be anyone on the board or anyone related to someone on the board, for obvious reasons.

How Is the Inspector Chosen?

The election rules set forth by the HOA should detail how the inspector is chosen. The rules should also dictate whether one or three inspectors are required. California law states that the HOA can choose how to select their inspector in one of three ways. First, the board can appoint the inspector. Second, the members of the association can select the inspector. Third, they can use any other method to select the inspector, which basically means the HOA is free to choose an inspector any way they want, as long as the person isn’t a prohibited individual. However, most associations just have the board choose the inspector.

What Are the Duties of the Inspector?

An inspector has many duties. First and foremost, they are in charge of handling the secret ballots and determining the winner. Other duties include:

  • Determine the number of people who need to vote
  • Establish if a proxy is authentic
  • Answer and decide on all questions and challenges
  • Use the governing documents to state when the polls will open and close

Having an elections inspector for secret votes is incredibly important because it ensures the vote is handled appropriately. If you do not reside in California, check with your local laws to determine how to choose an inspector for your association.

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