In 2018, the Community Association Institute’s California Legislative Action Committee (CAI-CLAC) fought hard to win the Governor’s veto on a bill that would have threatened homeowners’ privacy and would have made other fundamental changes to the way associations conduct their elections. On February 15, Senator Wieckowski (D – Fremont) re-introduced the bill vetoed by Governor Brown in September 2018. Senate Bill 323 threatens privacy in homeowner association elections.
SB 323 has the following effects:
- It limits the right of an association’s membership to set qualifications for candidates. It would prevent non-owners and some felons from running for the Board, and would allow associations to disqualify candidates only if they have been owners for less than one year, if a joint owner was on the Board or a candidate, or if they were delinquent in regular assessments and if other conditions were met.
- It prohibits associations from ever suspending an owner’s right to vote.
- It requires associations to post the names and assessor’s parcel numbers of all members eligible to vote.
- It requires associations to post the requirements for running for the Board at least 30 days before the nomination deadline; and to post the list of candidates, deadline for returning ballots, time and place of the annual meeting, all 30 days before ballots were mailed.
- It allows owners to review and copy the signatures of all other owners on the outside mailing envelopes. As a condition of casting a ballot, homeowners must give up their right to keep their signatures private.
- It will also require associations to hold an election every four years, without specifying what would be voted on, or whether the election must go forward even without a quorum.
SB 323 is supposed to increase homeowners’ participation in association elections. Instead, it will deter owners from voting by requiring them to sacrifice their privacy, and it will deter them from running from the Board by imposing a deadline to run which is months before the election.
CAI-CLAC will oppose this bill and will work hard to defeat it through the grass roots efforts
that were successful in 2018. You will receive a call to action soon, to contact your representative or other key legislators and urge them to defeat SB 323. Your voice matters!