Our HOA refuses to count any member's vote, if the member did not comply with the extensive instructions, regarding signing an outer envelope and inserting the ballot in an inside envelope. The board points to Civil Code section 5115 that dictates what instructions must be included with the ballot. Neither the board nor I, however, can point to a code section, indicating that the penalty for not complying with the formalities is to be deprived of having one's vote counted. Is there such authority? Can you please share it? (I think of the property tax bill instructions about writing the APN on the envelope. That instruction is required by law, but failing to write the APN does not negate the tax payment or incur any other penalty.)
1 Answer from Attorneys
Section 5115 requires HOAs to use the methods used by counties for absentee ballots, “including” the signed envelope process. “Including” means that even if not specified in 5115, ALL the rules regarding absentee ballots are to be followed. Absentee ballots that are not signed on the outer envelope are not counted. The same is therefore true for HOA mail voting. The APN on the tax envelope is for processing convenience, not legal requirements. Signing ballot envelopes is part of preserving the integrity of voting and is required by law.