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Many HOA boards are holding virtual annual meetings because of COVID-19

Many readers are asking about how we conduct our board election meetings that require the written secret ballots to be opened and counted at the election meeting.

My guest writers this week are Joyce Winward and Katherine Rader, who are community managers. I asked them to give us some information on this topic:

Association governing documents place a limit on the term of office for the directors, and if the election is postponed then the term of the director is effectively extended. Below are options. However, each association board of directors are encouraged to obtain a legal opinion from their association’s attorney.

■ Postpone the date and time for the annual meeting but retain a deadline for returning the ballots. The ballots will then be held and sequestered until the meeting can be convened and the ballots opened in public. This may result in the terms of some directors being slightly extended but will not encourage social gatherings and will avoid the potential spread of COVID-19.

■ If the meeting room can be setup so that there is adequate distance between the attendees, then the meeting could proceed, but only the election part of the meeting as the other issues are likely non-essential and can be addressed after the quarantining has been terminated. If this option is implemented, then the individuals counting the ballots must also be enough distance apart and should be using gloves and masks to reduce the possibility of contracting COVID-19.

■ Video conference the meeting and the election and allow the owners to log in to watch the meeting and participate in that manner. They will be able to observe the opening and counting of the ballots but would not need to be in the room if a laptop camera can be pointed toward the table where the ballots are being counted.

Zoom and GoToMeetings are both offered for free. Zoom can have one host and up to 100 participants. There are limitations for these tools, so check out the different levels of service. Various video conference platforms allow the option to either turn on/off the actual video, for those in attendance who do not want to be on “video.”

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager (CPM) and holds the supervisory community manager certificate with the state of Nevada. She is an author and educator on real estate management. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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