Given the advantages that the NOMCOM candidates will
have including peer recognition in their own spheres of influence, there is little
doubt in my mind that they will be swept into office regardless of what changes or
reforms of the system are proposed or engineered. This is inevitable and it is as
planned by the ICANN board.
Given that understanding, I personally endorse
the board's requirements for self-nomination AS WRITTEN as the best alternative in
the long run. My endorsement is not because they will provide a democratic result
or a level playing field in this election or not flawed, but because their actions
provide the necessary foundation for the democratization of the group over the long
At this stage of the game, At Large members run the gamut of knowledge and
understanding of the issues facing ICANN. Certainly most would agree that at best,
the membership is unorganized.
ICANN is at a unique stage of its development as
the world governing board of the Internet. In the context of American history, the
time is roughly analogous to George Washington's first term - before partisan political
parties emerged. It didn't take long in those days for philosophical divisions
to emerge … and it will take less time today.
Again, I support the self-nominating
rules. I do so because the rules as written will inevitably result in the creation
of alternate nominating committees formed from among the ICANN At Large membership.
These alternate NOMCOMs will make their decisions based on their view of the issues,
and the decisions (right or wrong) that the ICANN boards makes. I predict these ad-hoc
nominating groups will emerge from the utter defeat of those seeking nomination through
My belief in these rules is based on the fact that "At Large" Internet
pioneers will be identified through this process for the first time. They will be
offered the opportunity to see and know other interested pioneers from around the
world. More important is that ICANN's At Large membership will come to know them
The unavoidable mistakes and miscues of the ICANN board will be
communicated among these leaders and they will be the focal point dissent of the
membership at large. If they are as bright as I suspect, they'll be much more organized
when the next election cycle comes.
The rules as written are a first
and necessary step if we are to bring responsible representation to the At Large
membership. I predict this process will result in the creation of two or perhaps
even five or more independent international groups, each promoting their particular
vision of Internet in the 21st century and each nominating their own slate of candidates.
This won't happen until the next election cycle (or perhaps the one after that)
but I have enough confidence that the ICANN leadership, as presently configured,
will be able to maintain these rules and this opportunity for At Large representation.
Having come this far, they'll not go back.
One final thought. I encourage all ICANN
members to participate in the self-nominating process either as a voter or a candidate.
Let's use this process to make the connections necessary to win an election and make
a point … knowing that such a victory is highly unlikely in this cycle.
G. P. Hughes