Common Issues Inspectors of Elections Must Address

An association’s appointed inspectors of elections have a fundamental role to play in association elections – everything from determining the memberships entitled to vote and addressing challenges in connection with the right to vote to tabulating the results of an election. Civil Code section 5110(c) outlines the scope of an inspector’s duties, and includes both a list of specific responsibilities for which an inspector is responsible, along with a “catch-all” provision providing that an inspector perform any other acts that may be proper to conduct the election with fairness. In performing all of these duties, questions and issues inevitably arise that the inspectors must consider and address. Some of the more common issues inspectors come across is addressing mismatched names on the membership list when compared to the information on the upper left corner of the outer envelope; unsigned outer envelopes; and unclear voting choices on the ballot.

In an attempt to help inspectors address some of these questions, we prepared a Checklist of Issues for Inspectors of Election to Consider. This checklist is by no means exhaustive of all issues that may arise, but includes some of the more common situations we have seen. This checklist is best utilized if the inspectors review the checklist before opening the ballots and mark how the inspectors will address each of the potential issues should they arise.  By making these determinations before opening ballots, the inspectors can help ensure neutrality and fairness when it comes to addressing membership and voting issues that may arise.

Here are two additional reminders to help elections run smoothly:

  1. An association should have one or three inspectors – not two or four; and
  2. Management can only act as an inspector if the election rules state management can act as an inspector