QUESTION: If owners sign their ballots, does it invalidate them?
ANSWER: No, signing ballots does not cost owners their votes. Restrictions on signing are imposed on associations, not owners. That means associations cannot require members to sign their ballots. (Civ. Code §5115(a).) The same section provides “[t]he Association shall use as a model those procedures used by California counties for ensuring confidentiality of vote by mail ballots.” Elections Code, Section 15154(b)(3) states:
The following ballot conditions shall not render a ballot invalid…contains personal information, as defined in Section 14287.
Section 14287 defines “Personal Information” to include the voter’s signature. Therefore, if an owner inadvertently (or intentionally) signs their ballot, inspectors of election should not invalidate the owner's vote. Unless the ballot is voided for some other reason, it should be counted.
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