Ask CA: Who can vote in village elections?
“I moved to Columbia last September. I don’t own a home, but I rent an apartment. By being a renter, am I a member of the Columbia Association and can I vote for your governing board?” -Walter
Who can vote?
First, welcome to Columbia, Walter! We are so happy to see your question in our email inbox, and to hear about your interest in participating in the upcoming village elections as a new resident. Casting your ballot is a great way to see your values reflected in decisions that affect us all as a community.
While CA doesn’t run the elections (they’re governed and run by each individual village), we’ve always had a role in sharing information and encouraging eligible voters to be engaged. Check out our Columbia Votes webpage for comprehensive election information.
Let’s start with the first part of your question: “By being a renter, am I a member of CA?”
It depends on what you mean by “a member” of CA. Anyone can sign up for a CA membership, which gives you access to a wide array of facilities that CA owns and operates. The term “member” can also be used in the context of village associations, and that varies village by village. The best way to determine this is to contact your village directly. Under governance documents, the only “members” of CA are the elected representatives of the Columbia Council (aka – the Board of Directors). It can be a bit confusing, but it’s uniquely Columbia, right?
Now, for your second question: “Can I vote for your governing board?”
If you do live in a village (even as a renter), chances are that you are able to vote in April’s elections. That’s when representatives for CA’s Board of Directors and village boards are elected. Again, the rules vary from village to village, so that’s why it’s important to first understand which village you live in. If you’re not sure what village you live in, click here to find out.
In some villages, tenants must have a lease on file with the village association or show proof of residency (i.e. utility bills) in order to participate in the elections. Some villages also offer the option to vote online or via absentee ballot, so it’s helpful to know the methods that are available to you.