Dear Dr. Cerf,
We appreciate this opportunity to comment
on the proposed "clean-sheet" study of the at-large election.
We sincerely hope
that the Board will refuse to consider the reduction or elimination of the number
of at-large seats. We further urge the Board to reopen registration for at-large
membership and to elect at-large representatives for the four remaining at-large
seats at the earliest possible time.
We believe that there is a need for a study
to analyze the problems associated with the recently held election for regional at-large
seats on the ICANN Board. We also believe that the study should include at
least two people who had the experience of participating in the election, since there
are many insights that can be gained from their unique perspective. We strongly
support a study that will result in an improvement of the election process.
at-large seats is not an option.
The elimination of some or all of the at-large
seats should not be a possible outcome of the study. Not only would such an
act delegitimize ICANN, but also it would disenfranchise the user community in general
and the 158,000 registered at-large members in particular. In addition, at-large
seat elimination would contradict previous commitments made by ICANN and key Board
During the U.S. Department of Commerce proceeding that created ICANN,
the final round of comments on ICANN's Articles of Incorporation were overwhelmingly
critical of ICANN because of the lack of accountability via membership.
and Becky Burr, speaking on behalf of the U.S. government, sent a letter requiring
the initial Board to meet with the groups that had proposed a membership structure;
consequently, the articles of incorporation were modified to include a membership.
For ICANN to pull back from that commitment would be to renege on a promise that
was critical to its very formation.
If the Board insists on considering the option
of elimination of some or all of the at-large seats, then it must also examine all
the other component elements of ICANN. No seats should be sacrosanct or guaranteed.
any proposal is made to eliminate some at-large seats, that proposal must be put
to a vote of the at-large membership for ratification.
Suggestions for areas
Given all of the problems that were encountered, we feel that the election
went remarkably well. These problems should be examined and corrected before
holding the election to fill the remaining four at-large seats. Some of the
areas that need studying include:
- Was the
threshold that was required to make it onto the ballot reasonable?
- Did potential nominees have sufficient opportunity to reach the at-large membership
with their messages?
- Was the "double channel" mechanism for ballot
selection (Nomination Committee plus member-nomination) a reasonable approach, or
did it add complexity and unfairness to the process?
- Was the nomination
and ballot process adequate to ensure region-wide discussion and representation in
- Were the definitions and restrictions used in defining
in what region a person could be a candidate reasonable?
- For how long should registration remain open?
- Was the
software and hardware appropriate for handling the demand?
adequate techniques used to verify the potential voter's eligibility and to avoid
multiple registrations by the same individual?
- Were lost or misplaced
pins dealt with in a reasonable fashion?
- Should we assume that
computers are frequently shared? If so, how should this be dealt with?
- Is activation necessary?
- Were voters
notified of the need to activate their registration in a timely and clear fashion?
- Did voters have adequate opportunity to vote?
- Was the voting methodology reasonable and understood by the voters?
- Were the voters given adequate opportunities to interact with the candidates?
- Were the candidates provided with good tools for communicating with the
- Were the definitions and restrictions used in defining
in what region a person could vote reasonable?
- To what extent
should voting require the use of a computer attached to the net?
- Is e-mail a reasonably universal mechanism? Could it be an alternative to
- Could a special voting program be written?
If so, what would be the platform target and how would its integrity be protected?
- Was the human/computer interface for registration and
voting adequately tested and easy to use?
- Was the software used
by the candidates to post statements and response to questions adequately tested
and easy to use?
- Should the election be held using other languages
in addition to English?
- Should ICANN consider using other languages
in the developments of its site and of future at-large activities? Could some
of this work be done by volunteer translators?
6. Impact on the underprivileged
- Were the underprivileged disenfranchised
by the chosen method (web access) of membership, communication with candidates and
voting? (Many economically disadvantaged countries don't have the low cost web access
that other more advantaged countries have, nor do they have the money required to
participate in face-to-face meetings, etc.).
- Might the economically
disadvantaged be penalized in the future by decisions made by ICANN? If so,
what can we do to avoid this outcome?
- How can we ensure that the
views of the net poor are represented unfiltered by proposed at large organizational
7. Holding the election
- Should future elections
be run by the at-large community, rather than by ICANN or ICANN staff?
- Is there some legitimate reason why elections held by the SO's are structured
according to their individual procedures, while those held by the at-large are not?
- Should the list of voters be made available to the candidates?
- What kind of demands were made on the candidates?
- How could the process be improved?
- What role should members
of other groups within ICANN have in the at-large membership?
summary, we strongly believe that the study should be limited to examining how to
improve elections for at-large members. However, if the Board insists on allowing
the option of eliminating some or all at-large Board seats, then it must also allow
the option of eliminating all the other Board seats as well. Everything should
be on the table.
Thank you for your consideration.
North America Member-Nominated Candidate, 2000 Past-President ACM, USA
Hoffman, Europe Member-Nominated Candidate, 2000, Germany
Emerson Tiller, North
America Member-Nominated Candidate, 2000
University of Texas at Austin, USA
Froomkin, Professor, University of Miami School of Law, USA
Myungkoo Kang (Korea
Internet Forum), Korea
Judith Oppenheimer, http://www.JudithOppenheimer.com
Name & 800 News, Intelligence, Analysis
Participant, ICANN Working Group B, ICANN
Member at Large, USA
Francesco Ravanelli - www.ravanelli.com, Italy
President of the Board, Boulder Community Network, USA
MANGIN, liste icann-fra, France
Professor Michael Geist, University of Ottawa,
Faculty of Law, Canada
Laina Raveendran Greene, Singapore
Jessica Westbrook Jesswest@aol.com,
Sondlo Leonard Mhlaba, PhD, Participant, MITF/Africa
Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M.,
IDNO member, ICANN At-Large Member
Visiting Professor of Law, Rutgers University
- Camden, New Jersey, USA
Patrick Corliss, ICANN At-Large Member
DNSO GA Member,
auDA Board Member
CEO, Quad Quality Addressing Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia
F. McNulty, Brown & Bain, P.A., Tucson, Arizona USA
Murage Ngatia email@example.com
Shen, EPIC, USA
Lee Fulmer firstname.lastname@example.org, Canada/Europe
Vice President for Technology
Vitaminic [The Music Evolution], Italy
Baujard email@example.com, France
Don Mitchell, Dunn Loring, VA, USA
Joop Teernstra LL.M., the Cyberspace Association
the constituency for Individual Domain Name Owners
http://www.idno.org, New Zealand
Milton Mueller, Associate Professor, Syracuse
University, Adcom member, NCDNHC, USA
Srikanth Narra, Individual Domain Name Holder, India
Subhash Gupta, e3Technologies L.L.C., Info Tech
& Biz Proc Engg, India
Karl E. Peters, St. Simons Island, GA USA
[Institutional affiliations included for identification only.]