Election By Acclamation

board elections board meetings election h o a homefront hoa homefront reader questions Apr 15, 2024

By Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. CCAL, HOA Homefront Column

Hello Kelly, I came across an article in which you answered a question about election by acclamation. There is a lot of information on the internet about acclamation, but one item does not seem to be answered.  Perhaps you can assist. Once a board determines/votes to elect candidates by acclamation at an open board meeting, when do the candidates assume their new role? Immediately? At the Annual Meeting (as if voting had occurred)? Thank you for your time and for any reply. J.P. (manager), Lodi 

Dear J.P.:

The statute providing for election by acclamation is Civil Code Section 5103. However, the statute does not expressly answer your question. Subpart (e) of the statute says that, if all the other requirements are met, the HOA board can vote to “consider the qualified candidates elected.” Corporations Code Section 7220(b) says that directors hold office “until the expiration of the term for which elected and until a successor has been elected and qualified.” If we take that statute at face value, it means that the new directors who are elected by acclamation would take office at the expiration of the terms of the outgoing directors. Normally, the term expires at the annual meeting election, so then the new directors would begin their service as of the date on which the election would have been held. 

Because Civil Code 5103 has some very specific prerequisites before acclamation becomes available, and because the timing of the required notices is important, it may be advisable to update election rules to include the acclamation requirements and develop an annual election timeline so that the board and management are prepared – under the acclamation procedures as stated in Section 5103, the board must start setting its schedule for election-related events about 7 months ahead of the anticipated election date.

The option of declaring candidates elected by acclamation is great, but it’s important that HOAs follow the prescribed requirements so that it is available without a procedural challenge. 

Best Regards, Kelly

Dear Mr. Richardson: Our board has decided to utilize the new laws on election by acclamation this year without amending our election rules. This year 3 of the 5 members have their terms expire. What happens if there are fewer than 3 candidates for the positions? Without amending the rules, this is an area of uncertainty. Sincerely, W.B., Escondido

Dear W.B.:

I agree with you that amending election rules would help avoid uncertainty and also help preserve the availability of acclamation as an option.

If the HOA complied with Civil Code Section 5103, and there are less candidates than open seats, there seem to be two options for dealing with the shortfall. Corporations Code Section 7220(b) says that directors serve until they resign or their term expires and a successor has been elected. In the situation where only 2 of the 3 open seats were filled, the outgoing board could vote as to which seat was not replaced, allowing one director to continue serving after their expired term (until the next election). If none of the directors wished to continue serving, then the board could regard the seat as vacant, and the new board would in an open meeting vote to appoint an eligible member to take the open seat.

Thanks for your question, Kelly