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Username: bsimons
Date/Time: Thu, December 28, 2000 at 2:47 AM GMT
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Subject: The focus of the at-large study

Message:
 

 
                                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.


Eliminating 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 members.

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.

Ira Magaziner 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.

If 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 of study.

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:

1.  Nomination
    - 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 the election?
    - Were the definitions and restrictions used in defining in what region a person could be a candidate reasonable?

2.  Registration
    - For how long should registration remain open?
    - Was the software and hardware appropriate for handling the demand?
    - Were 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?

3.  Activation
    - Is activation necessary?
    - Were voters notified of the need to activate their registration in a timely and clear fashion?

4.  Voting
    - 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 voters?
    - 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 web-based voting?
    - Could a special voting program be written?  If so, what would be the platform target and how would its integrity be protected?

5.  Usability
    - 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 and underrepresented
    - 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 structures?

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?

8.  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?


Conclusion.

In 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.

Sincerely,

Barbara Simons, North America Member-Nominated Candidate, 2000 Past-President ACM, USA

Jeanette Hoffman, Europe Member-Nominated Candidate, 2000, Germany

Emerson Tiller, North America Member-Nominated Candidate, 2000
University of Texas at Austin, USA

Michael Froomkin, Professor, University of Miami School of Law, USA

Myungkoo Kang (Korea Internet Forum), Korea

Judith Oppenheimer, http://www.JudithOppenheimer.com
Domain Name & 800 News, Intelligence, Analysis
Participant, ICANN Working Group B, ICANN Member at Large, USA

Francesco Ravanelli - www.ravanelli.com, Italy

Neal McBurnett neal@bcn.boulder.co.us
President of the Board, Boulder Community Network, USA

Luc MANGIN, liste icann-fra, France

Professor Michael Geist, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, Canada

Laina Raveendran Greene, Singapore

Jessica Westbrook Jesswest@aol.com, USA

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

Michael F. McNulty, Brown & Bain, P.A., Tucson, Arizona USA

Murage Ngatia murage@lanset.com

Andrew Shen, EPIC, USA

Lee Fulmer lee_fulmer@yahoo.com, Canada/Europe

Vittorio Bertola, Vice President for Technology
Vitaminic [The Music Evolution], Italy

Michel Baujard mbaujard@3f.fr, France

Don Mitchell, Dunn Loring, VA, USA

Andrew McMeikan andrew.mcmeikan@mitswa.com.au, Australia

Joop Teernstra LL.M., the Cyberspace Association and
the constituency for Individual Domain Name Owners
Elected representative, http://www.idno.org, New Zealand

Milton Mueller, Associate Professor, Syracuse University, Adcom member, NCDNHC, USA

Leah Gallegos

Arnold Gehring

Robin Miller

Daniel Chemko

Srikanth Narra, Individual Domain Name Holder, India

Forrester Rupp

Doug Baker
    
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.]