Bylaw Change Proposal: Election of Board of Directors

Currently, the 5 board members are elected by a system where each member gets up to three votes to cast, and the 5 nominees with the most votes are the ones who are elected to the board. Since people are only allowed three votes, if there are 3 or four nominees who everyone agrees should be on the board, they get nearly all the votes, and the reminder is nearly random.

A simple tweak to this system, which would keep the intent without the random tail, would be to allow each voting member to vote for as many board member nominees as they like. This would allow a voter to say which of the nominees they approve of, and would like on the board, and withhold votes only for those they may not wish to be on leadership. The Board would still be selected as the top 5 vote-getters from this larger pool of votes.

To implement this, I propose the following change:

Delete paragraph 6.5.2 (Elected Officers/Elections Section, Paragraph 2) which currently reads:

All eligible positions shall be elected at the same time, by the process determined in these bylaws for the Votes of the Members, with one exception: Full Members may cast up to three votes for the Directors at large; these votes do not have to be for separate candidates.

And replace it with:

Election of All Board of Director and Elected Officer positions shall be by Votes of the Membership, with one modification to the typical voting system for the Board of Directors vote. Members may cast votes for as many or as few Board of Director Nominees as they would like, up to one vote per nominee. The five nominees who get the most votes shall be selected as the Board of Directors. In the event of a tie for the 5th position, any nominee tied for 5th who has been elected to an Elected Officer position for the year or who holds a Warden position is disqualified. If the 5th place tie persists after elimination of Elected Officers and Wardens, the selection shall be made by random lot from the tied nominees.

If there are typographical errors in this, or you have a recommendation for improving the wording to be more clear, please let me know, I’ll try to incorporate changes which do not alter the core concept.


Kevin M.

Three thoughts, one mechanical, one philosophical, and a question.

First, this proposal (and the original, really) doesn’t cover what happens if there’s a three-way tie for fourth place.

Second, I get why Officers would be disqualified, and I think that’s fine, because they’d be part of leadership anyways, but why Wardens? That just seems like penalizing those who help the Hive, and could likely result in Wardens resigning before elections.

Third, I’m not sure how this would help. If there are three or four candidates, everyone would tick their box, they’d be elected in a landslide, then the remaining ones would still be as random. Also, in an effort to resolve randomness, you’re going to random lots? That seems counter-productive.

I think that a better way to do this would be to allow each Member to have up to five votes and only allow a maximum of one vote per candidate. If there is a tie such that five cannot be picked, anyone in the running who is an upcoming Officer is disqualified, and, if it still can’t be resolved, the bottom slot(s) go to a run-off election where each Member has votes up to the number of slots to be filled and the tied candidates are the slate.

I’d argue the simplest change would be much like Greg’s, except the run off is a single vote to cast and doesn’t require quorum. That makes it quick and simple.

Two man sack race!

One point for unlimited votes vs. up to X votes:

isn’t it much easier to code a poll for unlimited votes? it boils down to a simple binary vote for each nominee: Do you want this person on the board? Yes/No. No need for conditionals that limit a member to only voting yes on a maximum of 5 nominees.

I’m open to other tie breakers, one option I thought of was to have the rest of the board (those decided clearly, without a tie) have the deciding vote to break the tie.

As for 4th place 3 way tie, that would also be a tie for 5th, so it’s covered.

I got an email asking:

"Can you explain the reasoning behind your proposal? What problem is it correcting?"

So I figured I'd share my response here in case other people were scratching thier heads.

My response:

"So, currently, we each have 3 votes and can give those votes to up to 3 candidates, or you can give two of your votes to a single candidate and the third to another, or you can give all three to a single person. The board is then selected as the 5 candidates that have the most votes when they are all tallied up.

Practically, what happens with this arrangement is that typically there are a few nominees who everyone knows and trusts (say, Nancy, Ryan, and Dave V. in last year's election) because everyone gets three votes, the vast majority of members use thier three votes on those three people, and positions 4 and 5 are left to be selected by the very few people who chose not to vote for those core people, and it gets very unpredictable and unrepresentative of the membership's desires, with potential for people getting elected who very few people want on board.

My proposed change let's every member say "yes, I approve of this person on the board" or "no, I do not approve of this person on the board" to every candidate. The board is then selected as the top 5 nominees whom the most members approve of, and eliminates the likelihood that someone that only 5 people are ok with being on board gets elected, so long as there are enough people running.

Hopefully that clears things up?


Kevin McLeod

I was additionally asked to explain what I have proposed with respect to tie breakers:

Basically, we previously had nothing to explain what happens if there is a tie. With what I'm proposing, suppose nominees Ed, Pat, Tom, Sylvia, Jenn, Ralph, Jim, and Susan and they get the following number of yes votes:

Ed - 68
Pat - 75
Tom - 23
Sylvia - 45
Jenn - 45
Ralph - 68
Jim - 45
Susan - 45

Pat, Ed and Ralph are clearly leaders/winners for first, second and third, they would be made board members.

The fourth and fifth spots are a tie though between Sylvia, Jenn, Jim, and Susan with 45 votes each. If Sylvia is a Warden and Jim was elected to Treasurer, to help break the tie, they would be eliminated since it's best to have more people be part of leadership and helping the Hive.

That would leave Jenn and Susan still tied. To avoid the hastle of running a run-off election, I have proposed they be selected between by lot (coin toss, dice, anything random). That seemed reasonable to me since they both had the same level of support from the membership.

An alternative to the random tie breaker which could be used instead of what I proposed above would be to have the board members who were not part of the tie cast votes to break the tie. In the example I have been using, Pat, Ed and Ralph would vote to select between Jenn and Susan, hopefully ensuring the board were a group who worked well together.

Okay your reasoning does seem solid, and you do point out a functional weakness with the current system. In your example with our current system Ed, Pat, and Tom could have 100 votes each, then Sylvia, And Jen could get the final spots with 9 votes each, because Ralph, Jim, and Susan have 8 votes each.

I understand your logic of what you want to fix, and it does address that issue. My concern becomes that it turns the vote into a feeling if anyone but these 3 people mentality, as opposed to a feeling if I want these people. That is likely NOT the intention, but I doubt i’m alone in getting that vibe.

The 5 votes for 5 seats, 1 per candidate would seem to address both of those issues.

The run off also leads to this same feeling. Which, in the thought of any of these people are fine, is not a big deal. And for the people running I could see situations where people could feel cheated, or that the “randomizer” is biased, etc. In a perfect world this would not be the case, and all parties would be their most altruistic version of themselves, and this never would be an issue. But i’d Like to protect future membership that is different that us from any such situation.

A simple run off 1 vote cast for the remaining spots would feel to me the most open and honest in the event that it does need to happen.

Overall I’m happy that we have enough people willing to take on the roles and help out the space. It is a far cry from a few years ago when we’re were scraping to find enough bodies to get the seats filled. Now we just have to keep working to get the same thing for the rest of the elected positions.

I strongly support Kevin’s proposed changes to the voting system. As a new member who has not experienced an annual leadership vote I was terribly disappointed to see what the current system is. I immediately identified some of the problems that Kevin brought up where several well trusted nominees will get the lions share of the votes (which is fine) leaving a weird randomness with the remaining nominees where the outcome doesn’t necessarily reflect the intent of the voting members. It also opens the possibility of just a few people dumping all of their votes on a single person that the majority of the membership feels is a poor choice for a leadership role. I see this situation as being extremely counter productive.

I like the idea of voting, just once, for as many of the nominees as you wish and tallying the votes. The top five are elected.

The alternative approach that I think was proposed was to vote, just once, for up to five nominees. This would be acceptable but would be my second choice.

As far as settling a tie for 4th or 5th place, there are a zillion fair ways that can be settled so long as it is established before it happens and we agree to act like grown ups.

If we made it so you could vote for as many as you want, I assume that means you can only vote once for them? Unlike the current situation where you can vote multiple times for the same person.

I’m not sure I see much benefit to unlimited candidate voting vs just picking your top 5 choices as there are 5 seats.

If I understand this correctly, you vote for every candidate and give every candidate a yes, no, or no vote/abstain.

Thusly any of the people that I would be okay with being a board member could get a yes from me. And anyone that I thought was a bad choice I could vote no against them.

I think the issue that was happening before that they are trying to correct with this, is the effect where the top several people that everybody likes always get a ton of votes. And then the last few it are kind of random leftovers.

This means that I can say yes to anyone that I think is a good candidate, not just the top few in my opinion. Likewise, I can say no to anyone that I do not want as an officer…

Also keep in mind that this is how we might vote next year, not this year.

Tiffany, the biggest benefit of the s that it's easier to set up the voting poll for unlimited votes (one per nominee).

This method (called approval voting) does have the benefit of letting each person influence the results even if thier favorites are not the winner.

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