Board Elections What All Residents Need to Know

 It’s time for the big election. And no, we’re not talking about Washington. We’re talking about the one that takes place annually in every co-op, condo  building and homeowners association. It’s the election where unit owners have to appoint a board of directors to work  with the association’s property manager to make sure the community’s finances, physical maintenance and other day-to-day business remains on solid  ground.  

 Boards are generally elected by the community itself—although sometimes, boards are simply made up of a group of willing volunteers.  

 It Sounds Complicated...

 But it doesn’t have to be. We scoured the rule books and grilled the best Chicagoland-area  experts to explain how the election process works—and how to make it run smoothly every single time.  

 According to the Illinois Condominium Property Act, Section 18, the bylaws of  each building should provide the rules regarding an election. More specifically—and most importantly, it states that the terms of at least one-third of the  board members should expire annually.  

 Most boards try to stagger their elections so that the possibility of an  entirely new board doesn’t happen at the same time, says David Hartwell, managing partner and principal  of the law firm of Penland & Hartwell in Chicago. Sometimes, however, a contentious subject causes a quick  turnover in the board. He remembers when a long-sitting board was overturned  because of an issue that came up just one week before an election was to take  place.  


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  • Can board members reappoint themselves each year, bypassing the election process? We are a very small building, and the board is quite lax with the rules. Thank you!
  • how do you run an election when the election is uncontested. There are five openings and only five people running?
  • When you say 2/3, would it be 2/3 of the 20% that called the meeting to remove the directors, or 2/3 of all the owners, or those attending the meeting?
  • How much written notice must an Il HOA give prior to an election for a Board member?
  • Can a property manager distribute the ballots, vote the proxies and then tabulate the results of the election for a Board member?
  • I live in Illinois. We are having our annual meeting to elect board members. Ballots were sent to each unit to vote. Our management company wants our voted ballots to be signed and returned by mail before our annual meeting. I feel my vote is private. I plan on attending the meeting. I do not want to sign. Can I be made to sign if I want to vote. Thank you for any advice.
  • If you do not turn you ballot in does that make it a non vote for either person? how many votes have to be in for a quota if 135 units?