Bill Text - AB-1799 Common interest developments: association governance: elections.
Yesterday I had a long phone conversation with Marjorie Murray of the Center for California Homeowner Association Law. She told me about a new Assembly bill that is now in committee. California has detailed statutes regarding procedures that HOA and condos must adopt for elections, to ensure that they aren't rigged, including independent election inspectors, handling and preservation of ballots, recounts, etc. This bill, AB 1799, would create an exemption from that law for uncontested elections. This is a problem. For example, boards could disqualify potential challenger candidates by charging them with rule violations, and in effect manufacture an uncontested election, which they could then rig with impunity. They can also just discourage challengers by other means--"hey, why are you costing us all money by running for the board?" In any event, allowing any HOA or condo elections to operate outside the law is a terrible idea. I suppose the idea is that it is a waste of money to have an inspector for an uncontested election. But I would want to know how many ballots were cast anyway, and I don't like the idea of creating an incentive for associations to save money by not having contested elections.
The bill is sponsored by the Republican leader in the Assembly, Chad Mayes. The California legislature is run by Democrats and Jerry Brown is the Governor, so I hope this thing gets killed in committee. But please don't hesitate to send emails to the Committee.
Here is the operative language:
"(f) Directors shall not be required to be elected pursuant to this article if the governing documents provide that one member from each separate interest is a director, or if the election of directors is uncontested. For purposes of this subdivision, an election is uncontested if the number of candidates for election does not exceed the number of directors to be elected at that election."
The bill is in the Housing and Community Development Committee and will be heard on April 13, Marjorie tells me.