US CMS Elections Procedures Alexei Safonov (Texas A&M) Dick Loveless (Wisconsin)
Motivation • These discussion points have arisen from our experience running the last US CMS elections • Elections went well, but there were instances when we had to make up rules on the go • Everyone and especially candidates have been showing a lot of understanding and support • However, it would be much better if rules governing elections were unambiguous and set ahead of time
Specific Examples • Uncertain timing of important happenings: • Inauguration of newly elected Chair and Deputy • Election stages (campaign start, elections, announcement of the results) • Election mechanics and logistics: • What if 2nd and 3rd highest candidates get the same number of votes? How do we define the winner if in the run-off nobody gets a majority? • Release of election results: • Should we release numbers of votes or only the outcome? What if someone (CB?) demands access to detailed election results (votes)?
Power Transfer Timing • When an elected official assumes his office? • In the past election cycle, we said “immediately” after the results of the vote are made public • Chair and the Deputy stepped into their positions at different time, no overlap time at all • Would be much better if the date was fixed (June 1?) and the election results were to be announced say 3 months before the power transfer to provide an overlap • E.g. the campaign could start 5 months ahead of that, last 1 month and have 1 month for up to 3(?) election rounds with 2 week intervals
Voting Logistics • Last time we used a semi-secret email vote • “Semi” b/c Dick and I know everyone’s votes, “secret” b/c we promised not to tell anyone • There were complaints asking for a “fully secret” vote • Received when some votes were cast already • We don’t know of such system w/o reliability concerns • Need a way to verify that votes cast were cast by people who should have cast them (what if someone mistakenly sends their password to a mailing list?) etc. • Various online voting solutions usually provide some way to excess the results (explicit or not, e.g. say by knowing the change in the total count and when someone voted or something of that sort) • Three viable solutions: • (i) Vote in person, (ii) hire an external company or person,(iii) trust the election committee members • I think the elections committee serves as that “third party” and should be trusted, but we should not make a decision, we should follow an approved procedure
Election Logistics: Results • Should we release exact numbers of votes for each candidate? • We were asked about it, but we opted not to because we believed candidates were expecting that those votes will not be released following past precedents • Two views: • “Yes” because we should be transparent • “No” to not discourage people from standing in elections to avoid embarrassment due to weak showing; “No” not to have “weak” and “strong” Chairs (e.g. CDF never releases counts) • Need to adopt one policy • E.g. CB can vote for one of two alternative drafts?
Election Logistics: Appeals • Can someone request access or appoint someone to gain access to internal voting information, e.g. if one of the candidates has doubts that election results were correct in a close election? • If yes, who can authorize that? Collaboration Board with how many votes? CB Chair? Who will be able to access it? • If the elections committee is making a decision on the go, can I appeal it? To whom (CB?) and what can they do, stop the voting?
Proposal • We would like to get a written procedure established and approved by the CB • Most issues seem easy to resolve, on some may require a couple of alternative proposals • Should it be in constitution or a simple written document will do? • Presumably, a small panel can write up a procedure and present it to the CB for approval • Dick and I will be happy to count votes