Why You Should Not Be An Inspector of Elections

While certain homeowners can volunteer to become an inspector of elections, there are definite risks that should be avoided.

California law prohibits the following individuals from serving as an Inspector of Elections:

  • Members of the board of directors;
  • A candidate for the board of directors;
  • An owner who is related to a member of the board of directors or a candidate;
  • Anyone under contract with the association. This would include the management company, including their employees, an attorney who advises the association from time to time, and the association's accountant and/or CPA.

Assuming an owner does not fall into one of the prohibited categories, there are other reasons not to volunteer:

  • You can get sued for negligence if an owner thinks you have made an error. Whether you have made an error or not, you can still be sued by an unhappy owner.
  • The election results can be contested for up to one year. This could involve you in a lawsuit because election contents are litigated in California courts.
  • Unless you are willing to accept the risk of defending a lawsuit, you will need to purchase insurance that will provide you with a legal defense. Even if you purchase such insurance, you can still be named as a defendant in a lawsuit which will cost you a great deal of time and stress.
  • Insurance policies for homeowner associations are almost never going to provide you with a legal defense. These policies are generally written to protect the community association and the board of directors, not the individual homeowner.
  • Even if you are never sued, there are always homeowners who believe their HOA election was not handled properly, causing unnecessary friction between neighbors. If you are the inspector of elections, you place yourself into a position where you will likely be unfairly criticized.

Are there any reasons why a homeowner might want to volunteer to be the inspector of elections? Only one. You save money.

Assuming your HOA has 50 units, the estimated cost of hiring a professional inspector of elections will be approximately $800.00 depending on the services requested. By doing all of the work for your association, you save your HOA $800.00 and yourself $16.00. For $16.00, you do all of the work and assume all of the risks.

Coast Management of California