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California Association of Homeowners Associations Inc.


Originated from functions of corporations, many Homeowners Associations permit or even require "Cumulative Voting" be used when electing members of the association to the Board of Directors. This method of voting was intended to provide all homeowners representation on the Board of Directors. Cumulative voting works as follows: The number of members of the Board of Directors that are up for election represents the total number of votes that are given to each unit owner. This total number of votes may all be cast for one nominee (cumulative voting) or the votes may be distributed among the nominees on the ballot in any amount as long as the total votes cast does not exceed the total number of votes that may be cast for a position on the Board of Directors. All nominees must stand for election at the same time.

When cumulative voting is not required either by statute or under the articles, CC&Rs or Bylaws of the association, the entire board can be elected by a majority of homeowners present at the association's meeting.

To illustrate: An Association has a five (5) member Board of Directors. At the Annual Association Meeting, all five board members are up for election. Each unit owner, therefore, has a total of five votes for each unit they own. The unit owner may cast all five votes for the same nominee (cumulative Voting) or distribute the votes among the nominees. For example, a given nominee may receive all five votes from the homeowner or he or she may receive one or two votes and other nominees receive votes until all five votes have been cast. (Refer to section 708 of the California Corporations Code.)

Cumulative Voting is a concept not well understood by the homeowners. Therefore homeowners that are familiar with the process and are intent on having their candidate win the election can cast their votes in such a manner to ensure their candidate wins. When the candidates are desirable the cumulative voting process work to the benefit of the Association. However, when the candidate has ulterior motives the process can work against the interests of the association.

The solution is to require a straight up or down vote; one vote for each candidate and one vote only. This makes the voting equal and fair for all parties and nominees.


Richard S. Monson MBA

President of the

California Association of Homeowners Associations

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