[ALAC] ALS certification and decertification votes

Alan Greenberg alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca
Thu Oct 2 13:37:11 UTC 2014

On our last ALAC call, Olivier brought up the subject of whether ALS 
certification and decertification votes should use secret ballots 
(such as we used for personnel votes) or not, and it was decided to 
discuss the issue on the mailing list.

The history is that most ALAC votes are open and it is disclosed who 
voted which way, with the exception of personnel votes and others 
that the ALAC explicitly decides should be secret. We have made such 
a decision of rare occasions. The only example I can recall is when 
we voted on whether to file objections to the .health new TLDs and we 
did so to avoid any harassment of ALAC members who voted for such objections.

A couple of years ago, a change was made to certification and 
decertification votes to change them from open to closed because of 
one or more objections filed by applicants. There is also a concern 
that a rejected application could lead to harassment of those who 
rejected it, and a concern that people might not vote honestly if the 
result was public (similar to the reason for secret ballots on 
personnel votes).

I think that this concern should be considered.

However, under our rules and the ICANN Bylaws, ALS certification and 
decertification decisions may be appealed to the Board. As such, we 
should be in a position to explain why a decision was made.

Accordingly I offer the following proposal.

ALS certification votes shall be conducted in such a way that there 
will be no public disclosure of how ALAC Members voted. However, the 
details of how ALAC Members voted will be available to ICANN At-Large 
staff and the ALAC Chair to allow them to conduct private interviews 
with voters to be able to put together a rationale for why any 
particular decision was made.



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