[council] voting procedures

Bruce Tonkin Bruce.Tonkin at melbourneit.com.au
Thu Sep 25 23:08:06 UTC 2003

Hello Amadeu,

> I think that in Carthage we should spend some minutes 
> discussing better 
> ways of managing votes on resolutions. Amending resolutions 
> on the fly 
> over the phone makes understanding the final picture very difficult. 
> Indeed, if we do have net access we always can see modified versions 
> (but we still should be able to find a ways to wathc the amendments 
> being introduced. Unfortunately not everybody can have 
> mail/web access 
> during teleconfs. So we also need to revisit the written 
> procedure for 
> voting. I dont think that we should require a confirmation by 
> subsequent 
> teleconf. Perhaps this is so for the legal Board of a California 
> corporation, but the GNSO is an adivsory policy body, and 
> whould enjoiy 
> more flexibility.

You are correct that it is better to have resolutions posted and
discussed via email well before a meeting.

I have generally enforced a rule that procedural or administrative
motions or advice (such as discussed with respect to the wildcard issue)
can be handled more flexibility then consensus policies - which actually
have contractual meaning and there are some more formal obligations
associated with these.  Developing new consensus policies via the policy
deelopment process in the by-laws is the core function of the GNSO
Council.   So for example the policies on transfers, deletes, and WHOIS
were provided well in advance of any formal voting.

We have also treated elections for the GNSO chair and ICANN Board will
formal email voting periods and ratification by teleconference.

The current rules of procedure for the council are found:

Where these rules differ from the new ICANN by-laws, the by-laws have
A fresh draft of the rules of procedure was produced by the GNSO
but no comments have been received from GNSO Council members on this
draft, and it has not been formally endorsed by the Council.

The relevant section of the rules of procedure dealing with email voting

"13.1 The DNSO secretariat will typically act as returning officer for
an e-mail vote. All votes using the DNSO secretariat voting software
have resource implications. Any vote of the NC or General Assembly (GA)
undertaken by the DNSO secretariat must be requested by the Names
Council chair.

The NC chair will not ordinarily refuse a request for a vote from the
chair of the GA for a GA vote, so long as the number of requests are for
ten or fewer votes per year. More than this number may have cost
implication from overtime or other costs above that expected in the
annual DNSO secretariat budget. If a request is refused, the GA chair is
entitled to request NC discussion for the next ordinary meeting of the
NC; the GA chair shall participate in such discussion. If the NC fails
to honour such a request for discussion, the GA's request for a vote
shall be considered granted.

13.2 The voting period for any vote will ordinarily be 14 calendar days.
In exceptional circumstances it may be shorter. A reminder will be sent
out two or three days before the end of the vote reminding the
registered voters to vote before the close of the vote. The returning
officer should confirm receipt of vote back to all voters. If a voter
does not receive a receipt within one working day then the onus is on
the voter to contact the returning officer and if necessary vote by
telephone. Once the vote is closed, the address to which the ballot is
sent is no longer valid and an out-of-time vote will be returned to
sender. The result of the e-mail vote will be declared as soon as
practicable once known.

13.3 Names Council e-mail votes. ICANN by-laws VI-B 2(h) requires that
NC members "can speak to and hear one another" for an NC meeting to be
valid. Votes taken by e-mail therefore have to be validated at a
subsequent meeting.

13.4 Typically at the meeting of the Names Council following an e-mail
vote, the Chair will ask for the e-mail vote to be validated by a simple
vote of approval to show the will of the NC was fairly expressed by the
e-mail vote. After such validation the result of the e-mail vote will be
an act of the Names Council.

13.5 Should there be any technical failure or other anomaly in the
e-mail vote, the Chair will ask NC members at the NC meeting following
an e-mail vote, to reaffirm their original or intended e-mail vote. NC
members cannot change their vote in a reaffirmation vote.

13.6 Under exceptional circumstances which must be described by the
Chair and agreed to by the NC by a two-thirds vote, it may be decided to
ignore the e-mail vote and hold a fresh vote at which NC members may
chose to vote differently from their earlier e-mail vote."

The relevant section of the new ICANN By-laws is:
(from Artcile X, Section 3, clause 8:
"8. Except as provided by paragraph 6 of this Section, the GNSO Council
shall act at meetings. Members of the GNSO Council may participate in a
meeting of the GNSO Council through use of (i) conference telephone or
similar communications equipment, provided that all members
participating in such a meeting can speak to and hear one another or
(ii) electronic video screen communication or other communication
equipment; provided that (a) all members participating in such a meeting
can speak to and hear one another, (b) all members are provided the
means of fully participating in all matters before the GNSO Council, and
(c) ICANN adopts and implements means of verifying that (x) a person
participating in such a meeting is a member of the GNSO Council or other
person entitled to participate in the meeting and (y) all actions of, or
votes by, the GNSO Council are taken or cast only by the members of the
GNSO Council and not persons who are not members. Members entitled to
cast a majority of the total number of votes of GNSO Council members
then in office shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of
business, and acts by a majority vote of the GNSO Council members
present at any meeting at which there is a quorum shall be acts of the
GNSO Council, unless otherwise provided herein. (See Section 5(2) of
this Article concerning the number of votes that GNSO Council members
may cast.) Advance notice of such meetings shall be posted on the
Website, if reasonably practicable, at least 7 days in advance of the
meeting. Except where determined by a majority vote (see Section 5(2) of
this Article) of members of the GNSO Council present that a closed
session is appropriate, meetings shall be open to physical or electronic
attendance by all interested persons. The GNSO Council shall transmit
minutes of its meetings to the ICANN Secretary, who shall cause those
minutes to be posted to the Website as soon as practicable following the
meeting, and no later than 21 days following the meeting."

So shorter email voting periods are possible in exceptional
circumstances, but the results must still be endorsed in a meeting where
the participatns can see and hear each other.  I believe this was
intended to aid in reaching consensus when members may hear each others
positions, and work to reach consensus on an issue.

Bruce Tonkin

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