QUESTION: Prior to the counting of ballots, can owners inspect the sign-in list? We want to know who cast ballots.
ANSWER: Although there is no requirement that Inspectors allow access to the voter sign-in list, there may be good reason to allow it prior to opening the outer ballot envelopes.
Challenging Ballots. If a person not on title (such as a spouse or a renter) were to vote, the ballot could not be challenged if other owners don't know the person mailed in a ballot. If the challenge is not made prior to the opening of ballots, no challenge may be made since the challenged ballot can no longer be identified and removed from the tabulation process. Although California's Election Code is not binding on associations, it provides guidance on this issue:
Prior to processing and opening the identification envelopes of absent voters, the elections official shall make available a list of absent voters for public inspection, from which challenges may be presented. . . . All challenges shall be made prior to the opening of the identification envelope of the challenged absent voter. (Election Code § 15105.)
Recommendation. After the polls have been closed and prior to opening the envelopes, owners should be allowed to inspect the registration/sign-in list if they request it. However, the list should NOT be removed from the sign-in table. If an owner wants to review the list, he/she should do so at the table under the Inspector's supervision.
ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.