Independent Third Parties. As provided for in Civil Code § 5110(b), inspectors of election must be independent third parties. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- a volunteer poll worker with the county registrar of voters,
- a licensee of the California Board of Accountancy (a CPA),
- a notary public, and
- a member of the association (who is not a member of the board of directors or a candidate for the board of directors or related to a member of the board of directors or a candidate for the board of director).
Professional Inspectors of Election. There are companies that provide professional inspector services to associations. They can be hired to prepare ballots, mail and collect ballots, and count votes. Putting an Inspector under contract does not violate the independent status of the Inspector. Civil Code § 5110 provides that "An independent third party may not be a person . . . who is currently employed or under contract to the association." As long as the Inspector is not currently employed by the association for other services, the board can hire the person to oversee the election.
Prohibited Inspectors. Associations may not appoint or use inspectors who are:
- members of the board of directors,
- a candidate for the board of directors,
- related to a member of the board of directors, or
- anyone under contract with the association.
When to Appoint. Inspectors should be selected early in the election process.
Duties. Inspectors of election must perform their duties impartially, in good faith, to the best of their abilities, and as expeditiously as practical. (Civ. Code § 5110(d).) Inspectors must perform the duties listed below. To help in the expeditious performance of their duties, inspectors can delegate some tasks to a person or persons, who are not inspectors of election. Those duties marked with a double asterisk (**) may be delegated to a third party to assist the inspector, such as the association's management company.
Assistant Inspectors. The larger the association, the more time-consuming the ballot-counting process becomes. To speed the process, inspectors of election are allowed to appoint and oversee additional persons (as noted above) to verify signatures and to count and tabulate votes as the inspector deems appropriate, provided the persons are independent third parties. (Civ. Code § 5105(a)(6).)
Prior to the Meeting. Inspectors of election, or their designees, may verify member information and signatures on the outer envelope prior to the meeting at which ballots are tabulated. (Civ. Code § 5120.)
Early Ballot Count. Providing members with an early ballot count is not one of the inspector's duties.
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