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Why fail on purpose?


A system can be designed to accomplish a purpose or to fail.  ICANN must decide whether its purpose is to afford maximum diversity of representation or to develop a fool proof system for conducting meaningless elections (in the sense of its expressed representational aspiration).

Diane Cabell reports:

The MAC recommended staggering the initial elections...
Yes, we will miss the one and only chance to elect all 9 seats at one
Yes, there will rarely be more than 3 directors up for election at one time...
 Yes, one or more of them will be regionally designated,
further reducing the potential for other minority interests to elect
their preferred candidate.
The MAC still recommends a form of
preferential voting
Lets talk this through.

The MAC recommends that ICANN elect all of its proposed "at-large" directors using a form of preferential voting, but makes no suggestion on how that may be accomplished.  Instead, it proposes a system in which it can not be done.  It finds that representation of diverse stakeholder interests/avoidance of capture is the top level concern, but concludes that we should not even try to accomplish that purpose for technical reasons!

What options might ICANN consider if it wants to work out the technical bugs before going live with "at-large" elections?  Here are some suggestions off the top of my head.  I suspect that members of this list can suggest other mechanisms.

1.  ICANN can employ a professional election service to perform this function;

2. it can experiment on something besides the real thing--hold some "dress rehearsals" before opening night (like a "straw" vote on which new gTLDs to add); or

3. it  might hold a single seat election, first, and the rest of the "at large" elections three months later.

ICANN's failure to accomplish our basic aspiration is not in its stars.  The question is whether it is in itself.