Candidate Forums – Board Elections
Since ballots are mailed out over 30 days before the annual meeting and since most voting is done through the mail before the meeting, many associations schedule a candidate forum shortly before the ballots are mailed to the members. This does not violate the restriction on using association funds for campaign purposes since a candidate forum is not an advocacy for any particular candidate but, rather, an opportunity for members to meet all candidates and hear their positions on relevant issues.
The law does not require a candidate forum and nominees are not required to campaign for office. As a result, associations may dispense with a candidate forum unless their election rules require one or the election is uncontested. If the association decides not to host a candidate forum, there is nothing to prevent the candidates from organizing one and reserving a common area meeting place.
If a candidate forum is held, the format is entirely up to the hosting party. The following formats are most common.
- Statements Only. In this format, each candidate makes a statement as to why members should vote for them. Once finished, the candidates then mingle with members and answer questions.
- Questions and Answers. In this format, each candidate makes a statement as to why members should vote for them and then takes questions from the audience.
- Written Questions Only. In this format, the association takes written questions from the audience and then has each candidate provide a brief response to the questions.
We highly recommend the use of candidate forums and further recommend the Question and Answers format.
Coast Management of California