[council] Enfranchising absent voters

Gomes, Chuck cgomes at verisign.com
Thu Jan 17 20:49:42 UTC 2008

I would like to propose one change to the e-voting proposal.  It was
considered by the small group but we was decided that it went beyond the
scope of our task, i.e., providing a means of voting for absent

In the spirit of attempting to minimize disenfranchisement of voting
rights by any Councilor or constituency, I propose the following change
of the second bullet under Section 4 (Process):
- It currently reads, "An e-vote may only be cast by a member absent
from the Council meeting." 
- I propose it be changed to read, "An e-vote may only be cast by a
member absent from the Council meeting or one who needs time for further
consultation or additional information."

We have sometimes encountered situations when individual Councilors may
not have had time to fully review an issue (e.g., they are new to the
Council, they have been temporarily out of contact, etc.).  We have also
had times when Councilors need further direction from their Constituency
before they can vote.  In both of these cases, the only alternative now
is to abstain, which essentially results in a 'no' vote.  Allowing
e-voting in these cases would provide a brief amount of time for
obtaining more information and/or constituency direction.

If this was allowed, the same process as described in Section 4 and the
same rules as listed in Section 5 would still apply. In particular,
regarding the rules, e-voting would only be initiated if it could
possibly impact the success of the motion or the level of support (e.g.,
majority or supermajority).

In the small group that developed the e-voting proposal several good
questions were raised and briefly discussed via email. Here are some of
the questions and my responses:

1.  Our present wording is that we first vote (then know the outcome may
change by counting the absentees! ). Does this change mean we cannot
first vote?

	- A vote could still occur before it is determined whether
e-voting would be initiated.
	- In cases where a Councilor needed more time, he/she would just
have to indicate that they need more time, just like some of us do on
occasion already.  Ideally, we probably should make sure we are ready to
vote before the vote is called, but that still might result in a
situation where a majority are ready and a minority is not; by allowing
e-voting in cases where it may impact the result avoids
disenfranchisement of the minority.

2.  How would the voting process work if Councilors were allowed to
request more time?

	1) A motion is made.
	2) Some Councilors communicate that more time is needed to
either consult with their constituency or to become more informed.
	3) The Council decides to call for a vote anyway.
	4) When Councilor A is asked to vote, he/she states that he
needs more time and requests that roll-call call voting be allowed
according to the established rules and defers his/her vote to the end.
	5) Before deferred votes are considered, the rules are evaluated
to determine if e-voting is in order; if so, it is initiated without a
need for any further voting by those who deferred their votes and a
deadline is set per the rules.
	6) If e-voting is not prescribed by the rules, then those who
deferred their votes are given the opportunity to vote (for, against,

3.  Isn't the idea of a Council member saying - well I may vote, I may
not, oh well now I have seen everyone else vote I will now, strange?

	1) A councilor who requests more time is only given the option
to vote later if e-voting will not be initiated.
	2) An alternative would be to not allow later voting except in
the case if e-voting is allowed.
	3) Note that in the past we have allowed members to defer their
vote until the end; is that a problem?  If so, then we should change our
current practice.  I have never considered that a problem.

A different way to handle the problem I am trying to solve would be to
always ensure that everyone is ready to vote before a vote is called.  I
could live with that but it wouldn't be nearly as time efficient as
simply allowing e-voting in cases where the voting results could be

Discussion welcome.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-council at gnso.icann.org [mailto:owner-council at gnso.icann.org]
On Behalf Of Philip Sheppard
Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2008 3:47 AM
To: 'Council GNSO'
Subject: [council] Enfranchising absent voters

Fellow Council members,
The small group drafting a proposal to enfranchise absent Council
members has completed its work.
Attached is a proposal for electronic voting by absent Council members.
The group believes this process is sufficient to enfranchise the votes
of absent Council members and thus no duplication with a system of proxy
voting is needed.
In short one or the other are workable and both achieve the same goal:
we opted to recommend electronic voting.

1) In discussion the group raised the issue of conflicts of interest.
The electronic voting proposal contains a sufficient reference on
conflicts. However, the group recommends that Council separately address
this issue of conflicts as there are a number of aspects that could be
usefully explored with respect to ordinary in person voting and
conflicts.This discussion on conflicts need not delay a Council decision
on electronic voting.
2) One group member also raised the issue of an option for a Council
member present at a meeting to instead vote later by electronic vote. As
this need went beyond the enfranchisement of absent voters and
introduces additionally complexity it is not included in the attached
proposal and may again be considered separately if Council so desire.

Philip Sheppard
Chuck Gomes
Robin Gross


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