[council] Enfranchising absent voters

Gomes, Chuck cgomes at verisign.com
Tue Jan 22 19:15:14 UTC 2008

Thanks Jordi.  The small group did discuss the possibility of allowing e-votes in advance of meetings but we didn't go as far as you did.  Like you say, we don't always have a final motion enough in advance to do this and sometimes even when we do the motion is changed in the meeting, so I am not sure it would work to always require e-voting in advance, but it could possibly happen in certain cases if that is a direction the Council wanted to go.

With regard to gaming, the primary reason we proposed clear cut rules for gaming rather than making e-voting discretionary on a case by case basis was to minimize the chance of gaming.  But as I am sure everyone can tell, it is probably impossible to totally eliminate the possibility of gaming.  In my opinion, we need to try to design the process as best we can including to minimize the chances of gaming, but we also need to avoid getting bogged down with excessive worry about gaming or we will not make any progress.  At some point we need to trust one another.  There may be times when that trust will be violated but I personally think they would be rare and if I am wrong we have included a review mechanism and we can go back and make changes.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-council at gnso.icann.org [mailto:owner-council at gnso.icann.org] On Behalf Of Jordi Iparraguirre
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 12:30 PM
To: 'Council GNSO'
Subject: Re: [council] Enfranchising absent voters


I'd like to comment on when to vote, so the change proposed in allowing delayed votes.

As it happens in real life (presidential or congress/senate elections), 
I'd propose that whoever needs to cast an e-vote, does it before the 
council meeting. Then e-votes are disclosed once the people present in 
the council meeting have voted. This may have some CONs as early 
availability of documents and crystal clear statements on "what" to 
vote, but effectively dismantles any issue regarding "gaming" and offers 
much more transparency.

If because of whatever reason (quorum, phone issues, etc) presential 
poll has to be delayed, e-votes are destroyed.

If a Constituency has not agreed a vote due to internal division, poll 
might be postponed to next meeting. To avoid obstructionism, a given 
constituency (or individual) can only claim once to postpone that given 
votation. And any given votation can only be delayed (by constituency or 
individual request) twice.

This implies keeping the sentence as "An e-vote may only be cast by a 
member absent from the Council meeting."

Comments ?


Rosette, Kristina wrote:
> Chuck,
> It's an intriguing idea.  I agree that we need to take a look at how to
> best address the scenarios you raise.  
> Having said that, it is my view that the Board would likely reject our
> entire e-voting request if we try to incorporate more into it than is
> necessary to address the problem we're trying to solve -- enfranchising
> absent Councilors.  
> I do have significant concerns about gaming.  There is also the
> possibility that one Constituency could significantly delay a vote - not
> through any bad faith intent but as a result of internal division that
> prevents a single "constituency position" or a tendency to defer action
> until absolutely necessary.  
> Kristina 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-council at gnso.icann.org [mailto:owner-council at gnso.icann.org]
> On Behalf Of Gomes, Chuck
> Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2008 3:50 PM
> To: Philip Sheppard; Council GNSO
> Subject: RE: [council] Enfranchising absent voters
> 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
> Councilors.
> 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,
> abstain).
> 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
> impacted.
> Discussion welcome.
> Chuck
> -----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.
> Note:
> 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
> ----------------------------------------

Jordi Iparraguirre
Fundació puntCAT

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