SB 323 – Changes to Association Election Process

SB 323 – Changes to Association Election Process 

This month California governor Gavin Newsom signed new legislation into law, which will take effect on Jan 01, 2020. The Davis-Stirling Act statute update introduced major changes to the election process for Homeowner and Condominium Communities. While these changes may not be a huge impact on larger communities the majority of California association communities are smaller (budgets and candidate pool) and should take note and prepare. The important changes include the following:

  • Qualifications that must/can be imposed on candidates for election to the Board. The legislation imposes one mandatory candidate qualification on all residential associations and lists four permissive qualifications that an association could decide to implement for candidates.

  • Limits on the suspension of member voting rights. Members that are delinquent in assessment payments cannot be denied a ballot, which is a common “tool” used to encourage proper assessment payment behavior. 

  • New documents/lists are required. (Voter List and Candidate Registration List.) 

  • The legislation introduces two new general delivery notice requirements for the election of directors (the “Candidate Registration List” notice and the “Nomination” notice). Ballots still need to be mailed out at least 30 days prior to the election. However, now a Candidate Registration List notice must be provided at least 30 days prior to the ballots being mailed. Further, at least 30 days prior to the Candidate Registration List notice, an association will need to provide the Nomination Notice. Planning for and implementing these new notice requirements will lengthen and complicate the election process. 

  • Associations must permit members to verify the accuracy of their information on the Voter List and Candidate Registration List at least 30 days prior to the ballots being mailed. The Association or member shall report any error to the inspector of elections who is required to correct the error within 2 business days.

  • New provisions granting a member the right to transfer voting rights via general power of attorney.

  • Inspectors of elections cannot be under contract for the provision of services to the Association (except a contract for the provision of inspector of election services).

  • Limits on when the election rules can be amended (no amendment less than 90 days prior to an election). 

Reprinted from by ADAMS | STIRLING PLC