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Principles of the At-large Membership

Recommendations of the Membership Advisory Committee
with explanatory commentary 

IMPORTANT NOTICE, posted May 5, 1999 - This document is an advisory committee recommendation in preliminary form. It is NOT authoritative and is NOT to be relied on by any party.  Following public comment, the ICANN Board intends to consider these principles at its next regularly scheduled meeting in Berlin on May 26-27, 1999.

Submit comments on these recommendations to  All comments will be posted on the ICANN website at for public review and response.  (If your comment is not posted within 12 hours of its submission, please contact

Comments received by midnight, U.S. West Coast  time, May 21, will be considered by the ICANN Board of Directors in advance of any action on these matters at the ICANN meetings in Berlin.  The ICANN Board will also consider comments made at its public forum on May 26 in Berlin.  (For details see

1.  At-large membership should primarily represent those individuals and organizations that are not represented by the Supporting Organizations (SOs).  The goals of the at-large membership are as follows:
(a) to include any Internet user with access and verifiable identity in order to reflect the global diversity of users (membership should not be limited to IP address or domain name holders),
(b) to elect Directors to the ICANN Board by procedures that are valid and authentic,
(c) to ensure that ICANN's corporate structure operates for the benefit of the Internet community as a whole, is not captured, and continues to provide fair and proportional representation of the entire user community,
(d) to provide input from the user community to the ICANN Directors and
(e) to do so in a cost-efficient manner.


2.  At-large membership is open to both individuals and organizations, however, no organization that has a right to designate or otherwise directly vote for an SO Director may register as an at-large Member. Organization shall mean any institution officially recognized as a legal persona under the laws of the nation where it claims legal residence.  Individuals who are members of the SOs or their constituencies are welcome to join the at-large membership.  The most feasible protection against capture by interests that are not representative of the the user community at large is to enroll as many Members as possible.
3.  It is not recommended that membership fees be assessed at this time.  If membership fees should be assessed in the future, they shall reflect the economic differences of the various geographic regions.
4.  Online membership registration procedures should be favored, however reasonable efforts should be made to authenticate the identity of applicants.  The suggested procedure for registration is as follows: an online form is filled out by the applicant who may thereafter be required to supply physical proof of existence.  ICANN will respond by postal mail sending the applicant a membership identification code to use for voting and other transactions.  An applicant shall provide the following data in the application:
  • name
  • physical mail address
  • e-mail contact (preferably an individual account)
  • an organization shall also provide the name of its voting representative, that representative's e-mail address, and evidence of legal identity

  • Commentary
5.  Membership shall expire 30 days after the annual election of Directors and must be renewed annually.  Unless otherwise specified, renewal will generally be effective upon electronic confirmation by the member of the accuracy of existing registration data.  Members shall be required to notify ICANN of any changes of address (e-mail and postal) during the term of membership.  Failure to do so may result in deletion from the membership list or ineligibility to vote.
6.  From time to time, ICANN shall sample the membership applications in order to determine whether the goals of membership are being met and whether fraudulent registrations exist in sufficient number as to call into question the ability of the membership to meet the goals of Section 1 above.  ICANN may take reasonable steps to assure that these goals are met.  Members who submit fraudulent or inaccurate data shall be deleted from the membership list. Multiple applications from the same organization or individual shall be deleted from the list.
7.  If desired, ICANN may appoint a committee (a) to assist in soliciting candidates in regions where there are few candidates or (b) to oversee election details such as fulfillment of candidate criteria, however it shall not be a function of such committee to filter, screen or otherwise evaluate candidates on any grounds other than for failure to supply the required campaign documentation of Section 12 below, in a true, accurate and timely fashion.
8.  Privacy concerns should be foremost in the collection, safeguarding and use of a Member's data.  Except as may be required by applicable law, no Director, officer or Member of ICANN shall be permitted to use such personal data for commercial or other private purpose nor shall any Member's individual vote be made public.
9.  At-large voting shall be on the principle of one-person-one-vote.  An organization shall be limited to casting one vote on behalf of the entire organization.  Individuals who vote for SO Directors in their capacity as representatives of SO-member organizations shall also have a right to vote for at-large Directors in a personal capacity if they also register as individual at-large Members.
10.  The at-large membership shall consist of a single voting class.  A Member may not vote in any election that occurs less than one month after the Member has been registered.
11.  Any individual who is a Member may stand for election as an at-large Director.  In the event that the number of candidates is so large as to discourage careful consideration by voters, then ICANN shall have the option of requiring all candidates to provide evidence of a reasonable amount of support from other Members for their candidacy.  ICANN shall take efforts, to the extent permitted by aplicable law, to encourage participation of candidates from regions where there may be a shortage of such volunteers.

12.  Candidates for ICANN at-large Director shall provide the following documents prior to the final date for submitting nominations:

  1. proof of identity
  2. proof of citizenship (necessary to determine regional representation)
  3. proof of membership
  4. proof of adulthood as defined in the nation of the candidate's citizenship
  5. agreement to be online and accessible to the membership via the Internet with sufficient frequency to fulfill the responsibilities of office
  6. agreement to provide adequate personal time to fulfill the responsibilities of office
  7. agreement to provide for translations to and from the candidate's language into English as necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of office (although it is hoped ICANN will provide translation of all its materials as soon as that becomes economically practicable)
  8. biographical information not exceeding 250 words
  9. statement of positions on issues not exceeding 250 words
  10. statement identifying sources of income, financial interests, and other possible conflicts of interest

  11. Commentary
13.  ICANN shall post the list of candidates and the data in items numbered 8 - 10 in Section 12  on its web site no later than 30 days prior to the election.  ICANN may elect to provide online discussion fora or other formats for purposes of the campaign debate.
14.  Election fraud shall consist of at least the following: providing false or inaccurate information concerning the candidate's obligations, offering financial or other value in exchange for voting in a specified manner, or requiring a Member to vote in a particular manner as an obligation of employment or office.  Any Member who participates in election fraud shall be deleted from the membership registration.
15.  Voting shall be conducted using Internet-based methods to the greatest extent possible consistent with authentication requirements and applicable law.  ICANN will work to design a method of cumulative voting by electronic methods that satisfies the requirements of applicable law and enhances the likelihood of achieving quorums.  If proxies are used, they shall be limited to specific proxies which authorize and direct an officer of ICANN to vote exactly as specified in the proxy document.
16.  Article V Section 6 of the ICANN Bylaws should be amended so that the SOs and the At-large may select their representatives without regard to the election results of any of the other of them.  The following principles are recommended:
a) unless authorized in advance by the Board of Directors, no two Directors from the same SO may be from the same region, and
b) the at-large Directors must include at least one from each region and may have no more than 4 from the same region, and
c) as a consequence of establishing independent regional requirements for each component of ICANN, the cap on the aggregate total of all Board Directors from one nation should be eliminated.


17.  All general meetings of the at-large membership shall be open to the public and minutes thereof shall be kept and promptly posted on the ICANN web site.
18.  Until further notice, all official communications to and from ICANN concerning the at-large membership shall be in the English language.
Note:  The Membership Advisory Committee is still examining the assignment of nations to regions as discussed in Article V Section 6 of the ICANN bylaws.

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