(a) (1) Notwithstanding any other law or provision of the governing documents, elections regarding assessments legally requiring a vote, election and removal of directors, amendments to the governing documents, or the grant of exclusive use of common area pursuant to Section 4600 shall be held by secret ballot in accordance with the procedures set forth in this article.
(2) An association shall hold an election for a seat on the board of directors in accordance with the procedures set forth in this article at the expiration of the corresponding director’s term and at least once every four years.
(b) This article also governs an election on any topic that is expressly identified in the operating rules as being governed by this article.
(c) The provisions of this article apply to both incorporated and unincorporated associations, notwithstanding any contrary provision of the governing documents.
(d) The procedures set forth in this article shall apply to votes cast directly by the membership, but do not apply to votes cast by delegates or other elected representatives.
(e) In the event of a conflict between this article and the provisions of the Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation Law (Part 3 (commencing with Section 7110) of Division 2 of Title 1 of the Corporations Code) relating to elections, the provisions of this article shall prevail.
(f) Directors shall not be required to be elected pursuant to this article if the governing documents provide that one member from each separate interest is a director.
(g) Notwithstanding the secret balloting requirement in subdivision (a), when, as of the close of nominations for directors on the board, the number of director nominees is not more than the number of vacancies to be elected, as determined by the inspector or inspectors of the elections, the director nominees shall be considered elected by acclamation if all of the following are true:
(1) The association includes 6,000 or more units.
(2) The association provided individual notice of the election and the procedure for nominating candidates at least 30 days before the close of nominations.
(3) The association permits all candidates to run if nominated, except as follows:
(A) An association shall disqualify a person from nomination as a candidate if the person is not a member of the association at the time of the nomination. This subdivision does not restrict a developer from making a nomination of a nonmember candidate consistent with the voting power of the developer, as set forth in the regulations of the Department of Real Estate and the association’s governing documents.
(B) Through its bylaws or election operating rules adopted pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 5105 only, an association may disqualify a person from nomination as a candidate based on any of the following:
(i) An association may disqualify a nominee if that person discloses, or if the association is aware or becomes aware of, a past criminal conviction that would either prevent the association from purchasing the fidelity bond coverage required by Section 5806 should the person be elected or terminate the association’s existing fidelity bond coverage as to that person should the person be elected.
(ii) Failure to be current in the payment of regular and special assessments, which are consumer debts subject to validation. If an association requires a nominee to be current in the payment of regular and special assessments, it shall also require a director to be current in the payment of regular and special assessments. An association may not disqualify a nominee for nonpayment of fines, fines renamed as assessments, collection charges, late charges, or costs levied by a third party. An association shall not disqualify a nominee for failure to be current in payment of regular and special assessments if any of the following circumstances are true:
(I) The nominee has paid the regular assessment or special assessment under protest pursuant to Section 5658.
(II) The nominee has entered into a payment plan pursuant to Section 5665.
(III) The nominee has not been provided the opportunity to engage in internal dispute resolution pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 5900) of Chapter 10.
(iii) If the person, if elected, would be serving on the board at the same time as another person who holds a joint ownership interest in the same separate interest parcel as the person and the other person is either properly nominated for the current election or an incumbent director.
(iv) If that person has been a member of the association for less than one year.
(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 858, Sec. 1.1. (SB 754) Effective January 1, 2020.)