RE: [ga] Voting rules, take 4
A few comments, if you please;
1) small groups beget simple rules. Polling/consensus is
2) medium-sized groups need more complex rules. Votng is
3) large groups absolutely need formal rules, with fully
The problem is that the group size changes. Hopefully, the group
Another problem is credibility. Accusations of electorial fraud
is proportional to the complexity of the voting system. Even
simple systems need to be defensible. Weighted voting rules are
allways susceptible to challenge. KISS is a basic defense aid
here. With due respect to messr. Froomkin, his proposal is too
complex, with inadequate audit-trail.
After four years, in this activity, watching various startup
organizations, I think that the following requirements can be
derived, for a voting/polling system.
1) The actual voting system needs to be simple, with both email
and web-based interfaces.
2) The number of issues, per voting event, needs to be few and
3) Voting events need to be strictly periodic, no ad hoc voting
events. (min. 90-day periods)
4) All voters need to be absolutely authenticated, within the
5) Churn needs to be minimized.
6) Each registered voter gets exactly one vote.
Failure to meet all of the above requirements has been shown to
lead to failure/disruption. No organization,in this context, to
date, has ever met all of these requirements. All such nacent
organizations have failed and/or continue to fail (including
failure to grow).
A major issue, in some organizations, has been item 2. The has
always been an abundance of votable issues. The prioritization
mechanism that determines which of these issues get on the ballot
has usually been over-looked, or has been a target for those
attempting to gain control over the organization (capture). This
is usually the weakest point of defense. My answer to this is
polling. Post the candidate issues, FCFS, and let participants
indicate a priority preference. The top X number of issues make
it on the next ballot round. Once disposed of by formal vote, it
is moved to the bottom of the issues list and marked as
"disposed". No issues should magically disappear from the issues
list. Periodically, all disposed issues should be moved to an
archive. All data should be kept in perpetuity.
What I am proposing here is a simple auditable voting mechanism
that is fed by a polling mechanism which is also auditable. It
also satisfies desires for both static and dynamic opinion
gathering and it is do-able with current technology. No limits
and no weighting, simple majority for most issues. Rule changes
and financial issues require 2/3 majority of those voting.
This is only my opinion, FWIW.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of
> Tveit Alvestrand
> Sent: Friday, June 23, 2000 5:11 AM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [ga] Voting rules, take 4
> Based on the discussion of version 0.4, here's what I propose
> as final text.
> VOTING RULES FOR THE DNSO GA
> Version 0.5
> These are the rules for voting in the General assembly.
> - A vote begins when the Chair approves a ballot.
> A ballot consists of one or more questions, each of which has
> two or more
> mutually exclusive answers.
> The ballot is sent to the registered GA voters by the
> - The typical amount of time given to reply to a vote is one
> - Each voter can cast one vote for one alternative per
> - The alternative selected by more than 50% of the cast votes
> - In the case where the question is a new rule or rule change
> for the GA,
> the number of votes in favour of the winning alternative must
> be at least
> 2/3 of cast votes, with a minimum number of cast votes being
> the lower of
> 20% of the registered voters or 100 votes.
> - If no alternative gets the required number of votes, the
> Chair may reissue
> the ballot with a smaller set of alternatives (a runoff), or
> declare that
> there is no consensus in the GA on the question.
> - The voters are those who are registered as voters when a
> vote is first
> sent out.
> NOTE: This set of rules does not cover ballots with multiple
> such as election of a set of representatives. Rules for these
> may be introduced in a later amendment.
> The voting roster and a method to register for voting are
> available in
> I'd like to have this set of rules voted on now.
> If someone wants to introduce instant runoff, so that we can
> remove the 50%
> requirement, I hope we can discuss that as a separate issue -
> AFTER getting
> a rule that works for the simplest cases.
> Harald Tveit Alvestrand, EDB Maxware, Norway
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