RE: [council] Draft GNSO Council Operating Procedures - abstentions
- To: "Philip Sheppard" <philip.sheppard@xxxxxx>, "Council GNSO" <council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: RE: [council] Draft GNSO Council Operating Procedures - abstentions
- From: "Gomes, Chuck" <cgomes@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 21 Sep 2009 18:50:41 -0400
- In-reply-to: <24DE23E4E0B2495A95C13B9AEBBBAAB3@PSEVO>
- List-id: council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- References: <046F43A8D79C794FA4733814869CDF0702D3F741@dul1wnexmb01.vcorp.ad.vrsn.com> <24DE23E4E0B2495A95C13B9AEBBBAAB3@PSEVO>
- Sender: owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Thread-index: Aco32AvMutRFext3RAqGSlyi9gvBcgCtnxPwAB6X/aA=
- Thread-topic: [council] Draft GNSO Council Operating Procedures - abstentions
I do not support your amendment. Let me first copy the full section 5.4
as contained in the motion I made to set the context:
"5.4 The Number of Votes Cast
See ICANN Bylaws, Article X: Generic Names Supporting Organization,
Section 3. GNSO Council, Subsections 10 and 11. INSERT LIVE LINK TO
To pass, a motion must attain a majority of the votes cast in each house
unless otherwise specified in these procedures or in the ICANN Bylaws.
Abstentions count as votes cast and shall include a reason for the
The first reason for opposing your amendment and the less significant
one is this: A quorum is determined before a vote is taken so it really
doesn't make much sense to say "Abstentions will count towards the
establishment of a quorum".
The more important reason for opposing your amendment is related to the
concern expressed by Tim. I think we should avoid allowing motions to
be passed without significant support and your amendment would allow
that in some circumstances.
To properly understand the issue, I think it is important for us to
recognize the following: With or without your amendment, the only
motions that would be affected would be those that are not covered by
the specific voting thresholds listed in the revised Bylaws approved by
the Board in Article X, Section 11 because those thresholds require
specific percentages of support from each House independent of the
number of votes cast:
"11. Except as otherwise specified in these Bylaws, Annex A hereto, or
the GNSO Operating Procedures, the default threshold to pass a GNSO
Council motion or other voting action requires a simple majority vote of
The voting thresholds described below shall apply to the
following GNSO actions:
a. Create an Issues Report: requires an affirmative vote
of more than 25% vote of each House or majority of one House;
b. Initiate a Policy Development Process ("PDP") Within
Scope (as described in Annex A [link TBD]): requires an affirmative vote
of more than 33% of each House or more than 66% of one House;
c. Initiate a PDP Not Within Scope: requires an
affirmative vote of more than 75% of one House and a majority of the
other House ("GNSO Super Majority");
d. Approve a PDP Recommendation Without a GNSO Super
Majority: requires an affirmative vote of a majority of each House and
further requires that one GNSO Council member representative of at least
3 of the 4 Stakeholder Groups supports the Recommendation;
e. Approve a PDP Recommendation With a GNSO Super
Majority: requires an affirmative vote of a GNSO Super Majority; and
f. Approve a PDP Recommendation Imposing New Obligations
on Certain Contracting Parties: where an ICANN contract provision
specifies that "a two-thirds vote of the council" demonstrates the
presence of a consensus, the GNSO Super Majority vote threshold will
have to be met or exceeded with respect to any contracting party
affected by such contract provision."
Excluding the six thresholds defined above, I personally believe that
all other motions should not be passed unless they receive the approval
of at least a simple majority of Councilors in each House. In that
regard, I would support an amendment to the second sentence of 5.4 so
that it would say, "To pass, a motion must attain a majority in each
house unless otherwise specified in these procedures or in the ICANN
Bylaws. Abstentions count as votes cast and shall include a reason for
the abstention." (Note that I deleted "of the votes cast " after
"majority" in the first sentence.) This is also consistent with the
voting thresholds above.
If we cannot reach at least a simple majority consensus in each house,
then it is my opinion that we have insufficient reason for moving
forward. I believe that a 'no consensus' decision is better than a
decision to support an action that has only minority support of the full
Council. Besides, if we do not in a given meeting have enough votes to
pass a motion, there is nothing preventing us from acting on that motion
at a later time when there is enough support. So it is not as if we are
[mailto:owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Philip Sheppard
Sent: Monday, September 21, 2009 3:47 AM
To: 'Council GNSO'
Subject: [council] Draft GNSO Council Operating Procedures -
Fellow Council Members,
one issue debated but unresolved by the drafting team is the
oddity in Council voting over abstentions.
To date an abstention has counted as a vote against the motion
because of the way the old by-laws were written.
I believe this is no longer the case in the new by-laws and so
the decision is up to us as Council as to what we want to put in our
internal rules (the operating procedures).
The current draft continues the old practise.
I would like to propose an amendment to the draft op. procedures
5.4 "Abstentions will count towards the establishment of a
quorum but do not count as votes cast."
This will mean an abstention is just that a decision to not
vote. At present it is not the case.(The ability to state why a member
The only rationale for the current situation is the the same
rule applies for the Board. To my mind there are reasons why a Board may
have such a rule that are not relevant to a policy development body such
Is everyone happy to make this change ?