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[Membership] Choosing an elephant? Shall it be pink or grey?

Joop Teernstra wrote:

> ...proportionality in the at-large board selection is automatic
> as long as we have a one-person one vote system.

No.  It depends upon the mechanism  (i.e. how we can use our vote.)  In
head-to-head, winner take all systems, one coalition can elect all.  That is the
best way to facilitate "capture."

> Sure, we may have only 9 seats to fill and dozens of disparate interests to
> represent among the at-large voters.
> ...
> Is every candidate going to seek {a} specific, issue based constituency?

In the context of ICANN, yes, though the "issues" will include matters of procedure
and approach as well as substance.  And, the candidates will usually offer opinions
on more than one matter, often appealing to more than one defined constituency.

> In that case you will see some proportionality in the elected representation on
> the Board.

That depends upon the system.

> But proportionality in issues is a non-starter. Issues lead their own life.
> When they are addressed, they die. They have a priority ranking that can be
> discongruent with voter interest and proportionality.
> Candidates will gain votes on the basis of how they deal with issues.

Yes and no.  Big issues will define our divisions during the lives of such issues
and be significant factors in determining our votes.  Smaller issues will affect our
decisions on the fringes or between otherwise aligned or similar candidates.

But, think about this.  Where the system allows us to choose an array of candidates
rather than just one out of the array, we can make many discrete choices on single
issues.   The system can aggregate those issue oriented choices into a proportionate
picture of our constituent parts--i.e. resulting in proportional representation.

> >Thus, while a system of "proportional representation" may not shake out
> >representatives according to clearly defined categories, it should mechanize
> >(if not maximize) the chance for representation of divergent interests on the
> >governing board and give all legitimate interests (including geographic
> >interests) a reasonable reflection on the board over time, and accurately
> >reflect the proportionate support for each candidate in that election.
> >
> Eric, you seem to think that political representation has to be a mechanical
> beast.

Whatever system we choose will affect who gets on the board.  Elections are
"mechanisms."  Electoral systems are "mechanical" by definition.

> ...We seek representation by multi-faceted
> humans, not robots.

You have tripped over semantics by changing the object of my
descriptor--"mechanical."  We are not describing characteristics of the participants
in the system, but of the system (mechanism), itself.  Of course WE are not
mechanical, but the system, by definition, is.

> >
> >We want a system which not only allows us to vote for candidates who
> >"represent" or govern in accord with what we think is right (something which
> >can also occur under disproportionate representation schemes), but also elect
> >them in a reasonable proportion to their community support (the real
> >objective).
> >
> Why "the real objective," Eric?  Do we first have to define "communities"
> within the at-large voter group? Quantify them? Create boundaries?

To the contrary.  A proportional representation system works exactly the way you
want.  In the complex world of many issues, it allows us to vote for individuals
rather than parties.  It allows us to choose those who best reflect our positions
and aspirations, rather than delegating such decisions to organizations which can
not faithfully represent the views of every member on every candidate (or issue).
And, it allows people to seek office who are not simply beholden to the managers of
professional organizations, but to individual constituents, as well.

> >...How do you get diversity without proportional
> >representation?  And, what kind of diversity do you get from "head-to-head"
> >winner take all elections?  Which is more conducive to capture?  Which less?
> >
> Are you afraid that the 9 Board members are going to be a monolithic voting
> block?

We are tasked with avoiding "capture."  Everyone is afraid of it.

> Maybe that will be so, but only in accordance with the wishes of the
> voters.

Which voters?  Do we want a system in which 50.1%  of the voters elect 100% of the

> The diversity is guaranteed by the "other" voters, the SO's.

Ok.  Some "defined" constituencies will be represented (though we do not know how
the "minority" voices in those organizations will fare).  But, the "general
membership" is intended to provide representation to the rest of the world.  What
guarantee can we offer them (ourselves!)?

> ....We want democratic voting, resulting in representation that reflects the
> will of the majority. Don't we?

No.  We want democratic voting reflecting the will of diverse minorities.  The
resulting board will reflect the will of the majority.

> ...Capture (and failure of ICANN) will occur if we fail to create a large
> enough membership. That is the key issue.

Lets assume:

1. that a large enough membership will prevent capture; and
2. that you can not attract enough members to accomplish prevention.

What is plan "B?"

> Proportionality is the straw man.

Again, this is a matter of definition. If we seek proportionality, that is the real
objective.  If we don't, we don't.

If tyranny of the organized "majority" is what we need and want, there are
mechanisms available to accomplish that purpose.  And, some will proudly call the
product "democratic."

It is simply a matter of setting our objectives and carefully devising the
mechanisms for accomplishing them.