Cumulative voting applies under the following conditions:
- While optional under the Corporations Code, the Davis-stirling Act requires the inclusion of cumulative voting on ballots if permitted in an association's governing documents. The notice must be provided to the membership of their right to cumulate their votes so all members can exercise that right. To satisfy the requirement, notice to cumulate votes must be given in the voting instructions when ballots are mailed to the membership. If cumulative voting is required, it only applies to director elections and only when more than one director is being elected to the board.
- If the governing documents require cumulative voting in the election of directors, it will also apply to membership removal of individual directors.
Example: If there are 5 board members who serve 1-year terms, then all 5 come up for election each year. Under cumulative voting, every member has 5 votes which may be distributed in any manner they choose so long as no more than 5 votes are cast:
5 votes for one candidate, or
4 votes for one candidate, and 1 for another, or
3 votes for one candidate. and 2 for another, or
2 votes for one candidate, and 2 for another, and 1 for a third, or
1 vote each for 5 candidates.
The rationale behind cumulative voting is that it makes it easier for someone with a minority position to get elected to the board. Cumulative voting also makes it easier for a single issue candidate or someone who is disruptive to get on the board. On the positive side, it gives buyers a voice on the board when the developer is still in control of the board. Cumulative voting is not required by California law. Cities and counties in California do not permit cumulative voting.
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