Meeting of the Membership Advisory Committee
26 January 1999



26 January 1999

Summary of January 26 Membership Committee Conference Call

Prepared by Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, Committee Staff


Izumi Aizu
Diane Cabell
George Conrades (chairman)
Greg Crew
Kanchana Kanchanasut
Siegfried Langenbach
Nii Quaynor 
Oscar Robles
Molly Shaffer Van Houweling (staff)
Mike Weinberg (Jones Day)
Daniel Kaplan

Before the chair officially opened the call, the committee members on the line discussed the question of geographic representation on the board. One idea discussed was that each Supporting Organization be required to select directors from three different geographic regions, in order to make the logistics of satisfying the overall geographic representation requirements easier. Conrades asked Crew to summarize this idea in writing for the group to consider.

Conrades reported that the Berkman Center workshop on membership issues was productive. Cabell said that the breakout session she participated in was especially helpful. Aizu agreed. The committee members briefly discussed the possibility of another in person meeting in advance of the Singapore meeting. Kaplan agreed to take a survey of committee members' schedules via email.

Crew suggested that the committee needed to get more structured about considering alternative models. He suggested that the committee clearly identify three or four models (building off of the Berkman Center's work) and flesh them out and compare them. Conrades reported that there seemed to be strong support at the Berkman Center workshop for a model with individual memberhship and voting. Kaplan said that his impression was that the meeting attendees would not object to corporation and association voting as well, as long as each entity only got one vote.

Langenbach suggested that one model to consider would have three classes of membership, for individuals, membership associations, and businesses and other groups. Each group would elect three directors. The three classes would ensure that no one group could take over ICANN. He said that he thinks the issue of authenticating the members is not very important.

Quaynor responded that a problem with this model is that non-individuals would have a majority of votes. He thinks that the at-large membership should be dominated by individuals. He prefers the ISOC model in which non-individuals don't have a vote. Kanchanasut agreed. She also thinks that not giving groups voting rights will prevent double voting (by associations and their members, for example). Kaplan countered that organizations are important end users of everything that ICANN does. He also noted that, in reality, individuals would be representing their organizations (as they do in IETF), so we might as well recognize the organizations' role explicitly.

Someone suggested that the problem with individual membership is that 20,000 people from one organization, say the AARP, could be mobilized to vote. Cabell noted that that could happen whether or not organizations could vote as well. Quaynor said that lots of people from one group voting is not necessarily a bad thing. Crew noted that because of the geographic diversity requirements, it would be hard for any organization in one region to capture a large proportion of the directors.

Weinberg reported that he talked to Tamar Frankel about the problem of identifying individual members. She suggested that the real way to attack the problem was through a rule that no individual could have more than one vote. There could be some sort of election judge to investigate alleged violations.

Langenbach suggested the establishment of a standing working group to address this sort of authentication and enforcement problem.

Next, Cabell presented a summary of the breakout session on nominations and elections that she participated in at the Berkman Center. She said that the group considered a range of methods for nominating director candidates--from self-nomination with no limitations, to a nominating committee responsibly for picking the slate of candidates. She said that the advantage of self-nomination is that it's simple, but the disadvantage is that there might be an overwhelming number of names on the ballot. The consensus of the group was that there should be a few criteria for nominations, but that they should all be objective--e.g. being of age, having access to the Internet, etc. A standing committee might be responsible for applying these objective criteria. On the subject of member identification and authentication, the group recommended that all authentication be done at the point of registration--perhaps just by asking for a postal address. The breakout session group determined that the geographic representation provisions in the bylaws were unworkable, and proposed changing them to require Supporting Organizations to choose directors from three different regions. Then, perhaps, the candidates with the most votes in each of the five different regions could be the first five selected from the at-large membership. Kaplan raised the issue that this method might result in someone with only a few votes getting elected. Crew suggested that the Board could suggest to SOs that they choose directors from three different regions, without requiring them to.

The committee then discussed whether their meeting in Singapore should be open to the public. Many members were in favor of an open meeting, but a few raised concerns that the group wouldn't be able to get all of its work done. Conrades suggested that the group continue this discussion via email.

Conrades asked the committee to consider how to productively move toward its recommendations to the ICANN board. The consensus was that committee members should compare the advantages and disadvantages of the models on the table and distribute their views via email.

After the committee agreed to a time for next week's call, the meeting adjourned.

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