[ALAC] Review: ALS certification and decertification votes

Alan Greenberg alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca
Sun Oct 5 01:14:29 UTC 2014

This has been a good set of interactions. We now seem to be down to 
two options. Everyone agrees that de-certification votes and 
certification votes where there is a specific RALO recommendation 
should be standard open votes.

Where we differ is how to treat votes where the RALO could not 
develop a specific recommendation.

a) Some ALAC members feel that to reduce chance of harassment, or to 
ensure that the ALAC members votes as he or she really believes is 
the correct choice, the vote should be secret, except that if the 
decision is challenged or likely to be challenged, At-Large Policy 
Staff and the ALAC chair have access to the actual votes to enable 
then to, after the fact, develop a rationale for why the vote went as 
it did (still keeping the actual votes confidential).

b) Others feel that if a person is selected for the ALAC, they must 
be willing to vote according to their conscience, make public what 
that vote is, and deal with any repercussions.

I have said I can live with either outcome, and I can.

However, I will share my personal view of this. For my own vote, I am 
solidly on the "b" camp (you will recall that it was my asking why 
votes were no longer open that started this discussion).

However, I think that things are not as simple as voting for what I 
personally would want. We are setting rules for the ALAC and must do 
so to ensure the best outcomes in future certification votes.

It is clear that there are some ALAC members who might feel 
uncomfortable with announcing their vote, potentially in opposition 
to some members of the community. Even if there was no one on the 
current ALAC who felt that way, the tone of the discussion so far 
implies that such a position is a reasonable expectation for some 
ALAC members. Given that, there is a reasonable probability that such 
ALAC Members might react by changing their vote to result in the 
least conflict or confrontation, or they would abstain. That could 
alter outcomes allowing an ALS to be certified that a majority of 
voters felt would not be a credit to At-Large.

Treating these ballots as secret, in my opinion, is the best choice 
to help ensure that all current and future ALAC members vote with 
what they believe to be the "right" answer.

Nothing precludes any ALAC member making their own vote public if they choose.


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