Incorporating Community Voting Into HOA Decision-Making Practices

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In many communities, the homeowners association HOA is responsible for setting community guidelines and implementing new regulations when necessary. While many homeowners enjoy participating in such associations, conflicts can arise over decision-making processes. Homeowners may believe that association leaders don’t listen to their opinions. They may feel that they are unable to weigh in on important issues.

In order to avoid conflicts with homeowners, it is generally wise for an HOA to institute community voting. Community votes can be used as a part of the decision-making process. They tend to lead to higher overall community member satisfaction. If you are an HOA decision maker, you should not be afraid of instituting community voting.
Involving community members in the decision-making process is actually a wonderful way to avoid issues that may arise when members disagree with policy decisions made by an HOA decision maker. Instituting community voting practices isn’t even difficult. Review the following tips, which will guide you as you put community voting practices into place in your own HOA.
Decide if you will use cumulative votingĀ 
Many associations use a method called cumulative voting to calculate the overall weight of a member’s vote. For instance, each household in your community may be given a right to vote a total of 10 times.
If you are holding elections for officers, each house would be allowed to vote up to 10 times. If the household chose to vote only once, the candidate for whom they voted would receive 10 votes. If they voted for two different candidates, each candidate would receive five votes. Check state regulations to be sure that cumulative voting is permitted in your area before you implement such practices.
Pick a voting method
You will need to choose how ballots will be presented to community members. You may wish to print out ballots and have community members mark their selections with a pen. Many companies now offer online voting solutions for associations. An online solution may be ideal if your members are concerned about the accessibility of a given voting method.
Create policies governing how much advance notice is required prior to a voteĀ 
Community members will lose confidence in the voting process if they believe that they have not been given sufficient advance notice prior to a vote. As such, it is important to craft a clear policy about the notice that will be given prior to a vote. Be sure to follow this policy closely to avoid conflicts with community members.
Send a comprehensive voter’s guide to all association members
You can ensure that community members understand the voting process by sending them a guide that explains their voting rights and voting procedures. If you are using a cumulative voting system, be sure to explain this system clearly.
You will also need to decide how much weight community votes will have on the decision-making process. Clarify what types of decisions warrant a community vote. If you are only going to use a community vote as a guide when making a policy decision, explain this clearly to community members.
This article was provided by The Management Trust.