Choosing board members in an HOA can sometimes feel challenging. Residents often don’t know much about the people running for these roles, leading to unfair judgments and concerns about possible fraud. However, during the pandemic, many HOAs started conducting their elections online. The trend of electronic voting for HOAs is here to stay. With so many technology choices available where you can conduct electronic voting, it’s not always easy to figure out how to do it right.
- Why HOA board members should consider electronic voting
- Best practices for implementing electronic voting in your HOA community, from voting to communicating with your residents before, during, and after voting.
- How technology can help you organize a secure election and keep residents engaged.
Disclaimer: Our article provides best practices to improve the online voting process in your community. It’s essential to refer to your community’s governing documents/CC&Rs for exact guidance on regulations.
Why Consider Online Voting for HOA Board Elections:
Here are some reasons your HOA should consider online voting for your next board election!
1) Ease of access and transparency
Online voting platforms provide a transparent and easy way for residents to participate in board elections. Residents can access information about candidates and review their qualifications, all from the comfort of their homes. It also enables residents to make more informed choices as they have more time to learn what each candidate can bring. Because online voting is more accessible, HOAs can see increased participation and reach quorum faster.
2) Increase voter participation and reach quorum faster
With online HOA voting platforms, residents don’t need to physically attend meetings or polling stations. This makes it easy and convenient for residents with busy schedules, mobility issues, or those who may be out of town to vote and contribute to the future direction of the community. Allowing residents to vote from anywhere can increase voter turnout and help your community reach quorum faster.
3) Reduce voter bias
Online platforms offer a fair playing field for candidates, as residents can access candidate profiles without preconceived bias. This helps ensure that candidates are judged based on their qualifications rather than personal connections. To this end, it’s also essential for candidates to provide information about their affiliations and potential conflicts of interest. It shows the community association is committed to a fair and impartial election process.
4) Prevent fraud
Traditional paper-based voting systems could be vulnerable to fraud and errors. Electronic voting systems have security measures built in to allow one vote per unit and prevent other fraudulent activities, ensuring the integrity of the election process in your HOA.
5) Saves the community money
While setting up online voting software costs money, the efficiency you gain and convenience for residents outweigh the cost. It can help your community save money by eliminating printed and mailed paper ballots if your community’s CC&R mandates online voting only.
6) Faster results
Online voting accelerates the tabulation of results faster, which means the community can know the outcome shortly after voting. This eliminates the need to count votes manually and makes the voting process more efficient.
7) Keep track of voting results
Another benefit of implementing online voting platforms for HOA elections is their robust record-keeping capabilities. HOA voting platforms provide a single place to store election data, ensuring that critical information is not only readily accessible but also well-preserved for auditing purposes.
Best Practices for Online HOA Voting with Technology
1) Choose a trusted online voting platform
Research and select a trusted online voting platform that can help you streamline HOA elections.
Online voting platforms offer several features to streamline the election process for HOA board members and residents. The ocean of HOA voting platforms is vast, ranging from specialized election tools to comprehensive HOA management software that includes election features. While some platforms focus solely on elections, others, like HOA management software, offer features to streamline every aspect of HOA operations. HOA management software encompasses automated communication, voting mechanisms, dedicated help desks for voting support, and much more.
This article will cover how HOA management software can transform the voting process by educating residents, providing essential support, and efficiently managing the entire election process.
2) Create comprehensive candidate profiles
Encourage candidates to create detailed profiles, including their photos, biographies, qualifications, and reasons they believe they are the best choice.
At the same time, it’s important to avoid loading residents with too much information. You should give each candidate the same amount of space and exposure to provide their qualifications. That way, residents can make more informed decisions without feeling overwhelmed.
3) Communicate with residents
Communicating with residents before, during, and after the election is essential in creating a transparent environment and keeping them engaged. With HOA Software, you can send residents updates on the voting process and announce the results. As part of the online portal, you can also give residents access to documents about voting rules and the community’s CC&Rs.
Pilera’s communication platform makes it easy for managers to communicate with residents during the election season. To keep residents informed, managers can send automated communications based on their preference – phone, email, text, or postal mailing. Residents can also access an organized document library where they can view CC&Rs or processes on voting anywhere, anytime.
4) Encourage resident questions and feedback pre-voting
Encourage residents to submit questions to candidates or about the election process. You can create a survey that asks residents to input their questions for board member candidates to answer during a meeting before the election. This interaction can help residents better understand the candidates and their visions for the HOA.
5) Test the voting platform
Before the election, do test runs with your team to ensure the online voting system functions correctly. This will help identify and resolve any technical issues in advance. If you find issues in advance, you can work with your software provider to correct any issues. Ensure your software provider can offer comprehensive support and training, so your team is ready to hit the ground running. It’s a great idea to test the following functions:
- Being able to see candidate profiles and information
- Access to the online voting platform to logged-in residents only
- Ensure that only one vote per unit (if applicable to your community) is recorded
- Ability to easily view and tabulate results.
6) Let your software do the tabulations for you
Online voting platforms eliminate the manual work involved with tallying votes. Looking for an online voting platform that can tabulate the votes automatically is essential. This speeds up the process so you can announce results in real time and reduce the chance of errors.
Pilera’s voting feature makes results instantly available in many formats, including tables, charts, and exports.
Track allocation of ownership
Many condominium associations must factor the “allocation of ownership” into the community’s voting process. It’s essential to ensure that your software can track the allocation of ownership or unit weights. Pilera recently enhanced its voting feature by enabling managers to track and implement unit weights during voting.
7) Offer support to residents
When residents have questions about the election process, do you have a way to streamline responses and provide support? A meaningful way to improve resident participation rates is to provide robust support and transparent information about the election process. Inevitably, residents will have questions, encounter issues, or grapple with technical challenges during voting. To address these concerns effectively and enhance transparency, we recommend the following best practices:
Encourage residents to submit inquiries
Invite residents to ask questions about the online voting process. This enables them to feel more confident and engaged in the process. A well-informed community is a healthy community. Pilera enables residents to submit support questions and receive timely assistance from HOA managers. Residents can then log into their portal, view responses, and communicate with the manager. This direct support channel ensures residents get the help they need promptly.
Create a FAQ/Knowledge Base section
Create an easily accessible FAQ section where residents can quickly find answers to common queries. A 24×7 accessible knowledge base reduces the need for residents to call in the office and improves your workflow. Pilera provides a robust Knowledge Base/FAQ feature that enables managers to post articles on common questions. Managers can tag articles to make it easy for residents to find what they want.
By implementing these tools, not only do residents receive the guidance they require in real-time, but it also lightens the workload on your management team. This proactive approach enhances resident participation, streamlines voting, and fosters a more engaged and well-informed HOA community.
8) Get feedback after the voting with surveys
After the voting concludes, don’t forget to seek feedback from your residents. Ask your residents what worked well during the voting process and what could be improved. This feedback shows you care about their concerns and helps you plan better next year. Your residents’ insights are invaluable, so explore what worked and what needs a little fine-tuning!
In Pilera, you can create a survey that asks residents questions in ratings, multi-line descriptions, dropdowns, and more. You can view the results instantly as residents fill out the form.
Consider adding the following questions to your survey:
- Experience – How would you rate the overall experience with the recent election process?
- Ease of use – Did you find the election/voting software easy to use?
- Communication – Did you feel the HOA communicated sufficiently about the election process before, during, and after the election?
- Candidate information – Did you have sufficient information about the candidates to make an informed decision?
- Voting process – Did you face any issues or challenges with online voting?
- Additional feedback for improvement – How else can we improve the voting process for you next year?
9) Choose software that keeps your community’s data safe
Online voting platforms use encryption and industry security measures to safeguard election data, preventing tampering or unauthorized access. These security features create confidence that the election results are trustworthy and accurate.
Pilera uses the latest industry technology and standards that make it safe for managers and residents. Some of the ways we help keep your data safe include:
- Encrypted passwords that are hashed repeatedly.
- Sitewide lockout policies to defend itself against attempts to break in through brute force.
- Up-to-date HTTPS security policies and certifications.
- Regular security updates to keep our customer’s data safe.
10) Keep archives for auditing and compliance
Electronic voting platforms include historical data tracking, ensuring that past election results are preserved and easily retrievable for your HOA community. This historical data can be vital for comparing current and past elections, identifying trends, and making informed decisions about the direction of the community.
If there’s any dispute or legal issue, archives can be used to verify the election’s legitimacy. Keeping an archive also ensures that the HOA remains compliant with laws and can produce evidence of a fair and lawful election if necessary.
Within Pilera, managers and board members can view the election results instantly, including who won, the votes each candidate received, and how many residents voted.
Conclusion: Simplify HOA voting with technology
HOA electronic voting can significantly simplify the process by promoting transparency, reducing voter bias, and safeguarding against fraud. By following best practices and utilizing the features of online HOA voting platforms, communities can streamline the election process, making it more accessible and convenient for residents. Choosing a system that makes voting simple and less painstaking for board members and residents can help the community to succeed in its goals.
Pilera’s HOA Management Software empowers board members to streamline the election and voting process. Residents can easily and securely cast their votes online through our voting capabilities, ensuring a smooth and efficient election. Pilera also provides robust communication tools to inform residents about the election, candidates, and voting instructions. Additionally, our help desk feature makes it easy for board members to support residents and answer questions during the voting process. To continuously improve the election experience, Pilera offers surveys allowing board members to collect feedback and make data-driven decisions, ensuring that HOA elections are hassle-free and tailored to meet the community’s evolving needs.
Pilera Software is the premier community and property management software that has helped thousands of community managers enhance communications, improve customer service, and manage compliance and operations. Book a personalized demo to learn how Pilera can help improve efficiency and reduce costs.