Author Topic: Process of elections Q and A  (Read 9744 times)

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Offline guspasho

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Process of elections Q and A
« on: October 05, 2007, 10:48:13 am »
Ask your questions about how the elections shall be run and I shall get determinations and answer them here. I noticed several questions in other threads but I don't have time to dig through them to find them all out, so if someone could collect them here I will be able to respond to them.

Questions I've seen so far are:

What time lengths will be allowed for speeches/questions/discussion?
Time lengths are not set and will vary depending on the number of candidates and volume of questions, things like that. More opponents in a race means less time to speak.

Will absentee votes be permitted?
Absentee voting will not be permitted. Calling in to vote will not be permitted. You must attend to be able to vote.

Will voting be done by secret ballot?
Voting will be done by secret ballot for all positions with more than one candidate. Any elections with only one candidate will be done by affirmation unless anyone objects, then it will be done by secret ballot.

When will nominations be cut off?
Nominations will be cut off at 2:00 PM. After that the Secretary prints the ballots and anyone who wishes to run after that will need to run as a write-in candidate.

In what order will the elections be held?
President will be voted upon first, and the winner will be subsequently announced. Followed by the department directors in alphabetical order, by department, with subsequent announcements of the winners following each. So 1) President (Chair of Kumoricon), 2) Operations, 3) Programming, 4) Publicity, 5) Relations.

Are there term limits?
There are no term limits.

How will ballots be handed out? If I lost my staff badge or forgot my ID can I still vote?
Everyone should bring photo ID first and foremost, and their staff badge if they like, and when ballots are handed out we will check your name against the staff list. If you can't provide photo ID we can rely on your managers or the staff in general to vouch for your identity.

Is there any planned structure to the formal and informal debate periods?
Debate will be very basic:
1) Raise your hand
2) Wait for the moderator to call on you
3) Stand up and ask your question to the moderator (not the candidate!)
4) Sit down and wait for the reply
Don't filibuster or you may be interrupted by the moderator and told to sit down. Don't speak until the moderator recognizes you. Time limits will be at the discretion of the moderator.

During informal debate anyone can ask anything, and should direct their questions to the moderator, even if they are meant for someone else such as a candidate. Candidates will be called upon by the moderator to respond.

Will there be any structure to elections and formal debate?
See the answer on informal debate for basic rules of debate that shall apply here as well. The process of elections and debate during elections will be repeated for each position and follow something like this:

* Candidate speeches and candidates take questions from the floor (15 minutes)
* Discussion while candidates step outside (10 minutes)
* Voting, tallying, announce winner (20 minutes)

During voting, candidates should not be discussed, only matters of voting procedure.

What method of voting will we use? Plurality, runoff, instant runoff, Schultze-Condorcet, rock-paper-scissors, not-it?
Votes will be decided by simple majority or runoff. If a candidate does not receive a majority of votes cast, a runoff will occur and the candidates with the two largest pluralities will be voted upon. Also called the two-round system on Wikipedia.

Will candidates be allowed to phone in to the elections meeting or otherwise run for office if they cannot attend elections themselves?
Any candidate who cannot attend elections will be removed from the running and ineligible for office. Directors in office are expected to be able to attend all meetings (barring exceptional circumstances) and in the past, directors who are elected without attending the election meeting tend to miss a lot of meetings. We try to be accommodating as much as possible but some things are simply requirements of the job, and reliable meeting attendance is one of those.

I'm a super-volunteer and I want to sign up for 2007 staff so I can vote!
If you have been approved by the volunteer manager to be eligible to vote, show up during the social hour (10AM-12PM) and get signed up by Ryan Stasel, the secretary, at that time.

I want to sign up for staff for 2008!
You may sign up any time following elections by speaking with the director of the department you wish to work in.

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Check this post for updates to the questions and official answers.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2007, 05:56:14 pm by guspasho »
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2007, 02:55:10 pm »
Are there any candidates who will not be present (that have already said they can't make it)?
Will these candidates have any representatives that may be able to speak on there behalf, even if they cannot answer questions for the nominee?
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Offline guspasho

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2007, 03:58:00 pm »
Are there any candidates who will not be present (that have already said they can't make it)?
Will these candidates have any representatives that may be able to speak on there behalf, even if they cannot answer questions for the nominee?

Nobody who is running has notified the chair or the secretary or myself that they aren't planning on attending.

I've updated the original post with the answer to your question.
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Offline guspasho

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2007, 05:51:42 pm »
I made a mistake in debate procedure. Questions should ALWAYS be directed to the moderator. This helps keep the process friendly and orderly. When you are recognized, do not ask the candidate you wish to ask, ask the moderator, and then sit down. The moderator will then ask the appropriate candidate to respond.
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2007, 09:28:21 am »
I made a mistake in debate procedure. Questions should ALWAYS be directed to the moderator. This helps keep the process friendly and orderly. When you are recognized, do not ask the candidate you wish to ask, ask the moderator, and then sit down. The moderator will then ask the appropriate candidate to respond.

Unless you have something against the moderator. Peter was kinda pissing me off last year... ;)
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Offline guspasho

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2007, 01:19:04 pm »
Sorry, but not unless you have a problem with the moderator. Even if you do it's expected the procedure be followed. Again, when you make a decision you have to make a choice, so you can't make everybody happy, but we try to choose the most fair and impartial moderator we can find.
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Offline superjaz

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2007, 05:30:50 pm »
I should be monorator...monorator of doom!!!

cuz every one likes me (or almost every one... :()
but then again no ones perfect, heck there are people who dont like chocolate
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2007, 07:41:09 am »
I was just messing around. I'm sure whoever is moderator this year will do fine. Peter did a fine job.


I've got a late question that I'll probably have to have answered at the meeting itself.

Can you make a vote of no confidence if you do not think the candidates are qualified for the position?
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Offline guspasho

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2007, 10:06:49 am »
Ryan answered this at the meeting since it was asked too late for anyone to respond online in time (sorry). The ruling was that a vote of no confidence would be considered an abstention, same as if you turned in a blank ballot or no ballot at all.

We can't really have an election fail just because no confidence votes outweighed votes in favor of any candidate, as the bylaws kind of mandate that we elect somebody into those positions. And besides, if nobody got any votes, John would, as the incumbent Relations Director, have to continue to serve anyway.

Ultimately, if you don't agree with a candidate and you don't want that person to win, you should have proposed an alternative candidate - which anyone, founder, board member, staffer, volunteer, random hobo who snuck in, could have nominated. But I guess it's easier to be the peanut gallery than it is to get up there and take the hits.

Personally, I think it's pretty mean and unfair to announce that you are going to vote no confidence without even offering an explanation or giving the person an opportunity to address what your complaints with the person may be. I can at least say I had the balls to tell Brenda to her face what her biggest problem of the year was and ask her to convincingly promise us how she would improve.

EDIT: Actually, I take that last part back. It it goes beyond mean and unfair, but outright slimy to say that and then imply you support the candidate in the thread where you could have brought up any such complaint. From the Relations nominations thread:

Definitely.
Despite my personal feelings about him, John has shown that he definitely wants the position and is ready to work to get it (if need be).
« Last Edit: October 08, 2007, 10:11:47 am by guspasho »
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2007, 10:22:20 am »
For the record, he did actually change my mind at the meeting. If I had a better person for the job I'd have nominated them. If I had any concerns about his inability to do the job I would have brought those up. Any other reasons I had to vote no confidence were just personality issues between him and I and were not related to the position at all.

I did not actually hand in a no confidence ballot for Relation. I withheld it, making the abstain votes one less, which in the end just made his election to the position easier. John Krall will do a good job on Relations whether or not he's everyone's best friend.
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Offline superjaz

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2007, 10:24:10 am »
Not that it matters but i dont think no confidence should be the same as an no vote, i know some one who didnt vote for one of the position not because he didnt think either would do a great job they just coundnt make up their mind between canidates

ps hope y'all liked the taffy
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Offline rictheron

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2007, 10:38:16 am »
I agree on John.  I've known him for years and he has my full confidence on being able to handle Relations and any other job that comes his way.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2007, 10:39:48 am by rictheron »
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Offline MichaelEvans

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2007, 11:45:53 am »
No confidence is different from abstention, I'm a fan of letting voters, even in 'traditional' style elections vote differently.  None of the above and abstention should always be options (Yes, even in this mascot-year's voting system).  Which I admit, were not included.  Though a candidate who equates either of those possibilities could have easily been added (If that image (either) won then the election would be rejected.  Of course, with deadlines, such an outcome may not be desirable.)

Actually this reminded me of a topic I forgot to add to general elections last night because I was dead tired...
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Offline guspasho

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2007, 01:07:57 pm »
Ultimately, since there was only one candidate, we resorted to the best system where we just voted yes/no one the one candidate running. That allows people to voice their opinion on the matter of whether Option A is better than Nothing. So technically you guys had the power to vote no confidence anyway, and I noticed that at least one person did.

But what happens when Option A is worse than Nothing? Do we let the bad apple try? (Replace in your mind John with someone who is universally reviled for the sake of exploring the question. Which option is better?)

We need to address that question in order to decide whether no confidence votes are a good idea or not.
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Offline MichaelEvans

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2007, 01:48:46 pm »
In the event of no-confidence, or None of the Above, I see the people's will pointing towards a fresh election with new candidates.  However there is no upper-bound on the magnitude of the worst case scenario that can result.  (In other words, it is possible to NEVER fill the position and continue wasting more resources trying.)

However, my personal view is that in reality it will be extremely unlikely for such a thing to occur.  More so if it is required that some level of majority beyond simple majority is required. (Say 2/3rds to 3/4ths of all votes being for NotA).  However the other question is... if a candidate can't beat out NotA, even in a runoff election if you use that system, do you Really want them (or anyone else who lost to them) in office?
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Offline guspasho

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2007, 03:07:15 pm »
In the event of no-confidence, or None of the Above, I see the people's will pointing towards a fresh election with new candidates.  However there is no upper-bound on the magnitude of the worst case scenario that can result.  (In other words, it is possible to NEVER fill the position and continue wasting more resources trying.)

However, my personal view is that in reality it will be extremely unlikely for such a thing to occur.  More so if it is required that some level of majority beyond simple majority is required. (Say 2/3rds to 3/4ths of all votes being for NotA).  However the other question is... if a candidate can't beat out NotA, even in a runoff election if you use that system, do you Really want them (or anyone else who lost to them) in office?

But new candidates is the problem. It's unrealistic to expect anyone new to run the second time who didn't try the first time, isn't it?
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Offline MichaelEvans

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2007, 03:55:40 pm »
But new candidates is the problem. It's unrealistic to expect anyone new to run the second time who didn't try the first time, isn't it?
Any is quite a strong word.  There are positions which I know I'm not qualified for, or the wrong type of person to run for.  There are others which I might do at least an OK job in.  Secretary and Treasurer are two such positions I feel I have the potential for.  The only thing I really lack at the moment is time, but I hate my (paid) job anyway, so now that others I live with are again working I could go look for a new one if I had real need. (As it is, I am slowly getting the pieces in place so I'll be able to do this anyway.)
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Offline guspasho

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2007, 04:44:52 pm »
You mean you might consider running in a second election if the first failed where you wouldn't consider running in the first election?
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Offline MichaelEvans

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2007, 01:43:49 am »
You mean you might consider running in a second election if the first failed where you wouldn't consider running in the first election?
I'd have considered it both times, but if the first failed that would increase my likelihood of running for a position.  Mostly because I'd feel more likely to qualify as a viable choice, yet also because it's more likely I'd be a good choice comparatively speaking.  One of the major things I'm holding against my self is that I don't have a full year as staff to have better knowledge of the workload's involved, another, as I mentioned, is that I am not sure what my future time constraints will be, since I really do want to change (work) jobs soon.
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2007, 09:52:27 am »
I think there is a difference between a no vote / abstention and a no confidence vote. I think that a no vote can imply not being able to make up one's mind between equally worthy candidates or can imply not having enough information to make a vote, and that a no confidence vote implies having a personal belief that there is some reason why the specific nominee might actually have a negative impact within the position, whether due to the voter's perception of the individual's competence, intention, attitude, personal qualities, reputation, conflict of interest with personal expenses or with another convention, alleged lack of integrity in a prior position, or any other characteristic. Believe me, if Sean were to try to run for something at Anime Evolution, where I am Programming Staff, even though I am not entirely clear on everything he did wrong within KC (though I really would like to be), I'd be out there voting NO CONFIDENCE rather than just not voting, if he were unopposed on the ballot. It boggles my mind if he's still in place at SC.....

As for John, I think there is value in his stated commitment to refrain from participating in certain board votes that impact KC direction (including on bylaws) until he is thinking as a KC director rather than thinking as though still SC. However, this info was not rendered public until the election itself, so there clearly were concerns out there (as Meg brought up during the public questioning).
« Last Edit: October 10, 2007, 09:57:36 am by RemSaverem »
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2007, 02:40:18 pm »
I agree with Rem on the differences, especially since they were such a miscommunicated issue in this election.

For now though we're fine with "Abstain" being the only other option. Having more unnecessarily complicates things and doesn't give away any of your reasoning behind your lack of vote.
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Offline staze

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2007, 10:29:54 am »
Ultimately, the process could have been more capable. We could have done instant runoff, or any number of other options. Had a no confidence vote even... but ultimately, I was striving for user friendliness both on the side of the voters, and the vote counters. Doing something like instant runoff becomes complicated for us to describe, and makes it difficult to count the votes by hand (without a tally machine, or note taking). No confidence, as far as counting, would have been treated the same as abstaining (as long as there were very few), since those votes would just end up in a separate pile. By turning in a blank ballot, you were in fact voting no confidence because that vote was a vote taken, and therefore impacted the total percentages. A vote not handed in was more of an abstention.

Either way, because we don't announce margins, the distinction is almost entirely on the count side, unless the voter sat and thought about how things, worked. But we really didn't want to make things more difficult than they already could have been.

Overall, it all went swimmingly. We didn't even have to do a runoff, and risk Jeff's head exploding. =)
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Offline Rathany

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2007, 10:54:54 am »
Hrmm.... I handed in blank ballots that were meant to be abstentions.  My thought was that, if I handed the ballot in it helped show that there were enough ballots overall for the vote to count.  I didn't realize it would be factored into the percentages. 

Would making 'abstain' a formal option on the ballots be helpfull?
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Offline guspasho

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2007, 11:25:42 am »
Wikipedia might be useful to the discussion on abstention votes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstention

"Abstentions do not count in tallying the vote; when members abstain, they are in effect only attending the meeting to aid in constituting a quorum."

To effectively cast a "protest" vote we would have to implement by deciding in advance something like "None of the above shall be an option on the ballot and no one shall win if none of the above has a majority of votes cast." But then that causes the obvious problems because we've empowered the staff to decide that nobody is better than any of the people running, and I'm not sure that we want to or should allow an election to fail and leave nobody in the position.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protest_vote in case we want to figure out how to do that.
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2007, 11:28:29 am »
I was actually very impressed at how smoothly things ran, overall, have no complaints, and am quite glad all heads remained intact :)
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2007, 12:48:31 pm »
Wikipedia might be useful to the discussion on abstention votes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstention

"Abstentions do not count in tallying the vote; when members abstain, they are in effect only attending the meeting to aid in constituting a quorum."

That sounds right.
There's way too many people with too many reasons why they weren't voting for us to really start including "none of the above" options on the ballots. As long as quorum has been reached at the meeting, anyone not voting for a specific candidate should simply not hand in a ballot. Thus, abstaining in a literal sense that takes the burden off the vote counters and speeds the process along.

Whatever reasons they have for not voting should be dealt with before votes are cast. For instance I had concerns and personal reasons for not wanting John as the Relations Director, but when he was the only candidate I couldn't vote for David. I had originally said "No Confidence" but John's speech at the election assuaged my legitimate concerns. Since I had no legitimate reason to not want him in that position I simply did not vote, thus abstaining. The only reason I heard for note voting for either candidate in the election was that they "didn't know any of them." This could have easily been taken care of before hand during the social hours when the candidates were available.

Anyway, the ballots worked well this year. If people have a special reason for not voting for the candidates they should voice it. Anybody who is not voting for one of the candidates should simply not vote. Your presence helps us reach quorum and if you cannot bring a better candidate for nomination, then withholding your vote helps us to speed things along.



The ability to vote for people that cannot be there might be nice. ;)
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Offline staze

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2007, 01:12:46 pm »
The ability to vote for people that cannot be there might be nice. ;)

There were a lot of reasons why we didn't do this. Some of which include:

1. Inability to confirm actual voters identity.
2. Inability for voter to participate in discussion
3. Inability for candidate to address any concerns that voter may have.
4. Inability for other candidates to possibly sway the voter.

Basically, that voter would be casting a blind vote, toward a candidate they may or may not know. The other candidates also have no ability to sway that voter to their side.

Overall, I think those are in order of why I did not allow absentee voting. Yes, we could have been screwed had we not met quorum... but, we weren't. Yay!
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Offline MichaelEvans

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2007, 08:35:02 pm »
I can understand the concerns for not allowing absentee voting.  Especially in a system where there aren't years of run-up time, or official voter guides, etc.

However, I contest this statement: ...
But then that causes the obvious problems because we've empowered the staff to decide that nobody is better than any of the people running, and I'm not sure that we want to or should allow an election to fail and leave nobody in the position.

A vote for None of the Above, means Only and precisely, that you feel None of the Currently Listed Candidates should get the position.  It's effectively a vote of non-confidence in any listed candidate.  Which as I have stated elsewhere means the voter most likely desires a new election race with (hopefully) new candidates.  Those candidates might, for example, be fresh blood that felt they were not as prepared as the other candidates, but who may have the potential to grow in to the position, and thus in a time of need would present themselfs as another choice.

As far as Abstention, there should be an official spot on the ballot for that if it is allowed.  (Another form of abstention is not casting a vote at all, but that would be equivalent to not collecting your ballot in the first place.  Though then the question is how is your presence counted for quorum.)
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Offline staze

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #28 on: October 12, 2007, 10:09:12 am »
If quorum is not met on a vote, then it would either be retaken (the vote) or an emergency election scheduled for the near future with either new candidates, or at least amended (more) candidates.

The way the system basically worked this time was if you didn't turn in a ballot, you abstained. If you turned in a blank ballot, it was a vote of no confidence. I didn't explain this in the run up because it would have confused the issue (I do admit I probably inadvertently made the issue more muddled by saying either was an abstention (turning in a blank, or not at all), but hopefully this didn't impact anyones right to not participate in the way they wished)). But basically, if you turned in a blank, your vote was cast, and was part of the total cast, and therefore impacted totals. If you didn't turn in a ballot, then it wasn't cast, and therefore didn't impact totals.

Quorum was taken based upon people in the room, minus a percentage based upon count of people that picked up ballots vs. total room population (it was assumed that this percentage would change little or perhaps even increase as the night went on and people left). So, if 50 people picked up ballots, and there were 60 people in the room, then obviously ~16.66% must not be voting delegable members. Quorum, after the amendment, was ~27 (20% of 133, obviously we can't have .6 people). So assuming we always had at least 32 people in the room... we should have been safe. I don't believe we ever got below 40-something (mid to high). I do know there were over 50 ballots cast for the programming race, which was the second to last, so quorum was easily met there.

Feel free to ask if you have any other questions about how the elections were run. Either if I maintain the Secretary position, or the founders are given the right to run the elections next year, I would be more than happy to take input (suggestions) on how people would like to see the elections handled.

Thanks!
-Staze
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2007, 02:22:15 pm »
Staze has a good point here.

since the founders have been cut out of some of the board processes like voting on policy, I think an amendment that specifically put them in charge of the yearly elections would make sense. It keeps them involved and puts some specific responsibility on their laps outside of whatever they feel up to doing at each year's convention.
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Offline staze

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2007, 03:04:17 pm »
That's basically what the new bylaws will do. Generally the founders have run the elections in the past, and it seems to work pretty well.

So yeah. go common thoughts!
-Staze
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2007, 04:13:44 pm »
That seems to be the common theme this year. There've been about 6 or 7 specific times where someone has said "Oh I know! We should do this!" and by the time they mention it to people, 3 other people have already been working on it for a month.

We're getting a convention hivemind going here!
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Offline staze

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #32 on: October 13, 2007, 11:27:41 pm »
That, and it's often the case that ideas crop up one year, but don't actually start coming to fruition until the following year... and in that amount of time, the idea spreads.

Like the whole idea of putting tiny deodorant's in the con bags to ward off the con-funk... the idea came up in 04 or 05 I think... and keeps getting more and more attention each year. At some point it'll reach critical mass and we'll actually contact oldspice or something to get a few thousand sample sticks.

It's kinda like the infinite monkeys, infinite time... if you get enough otaku together, all focusing on a con, they're generally all going to gravitate to a common set of goals and ideas: just one of those statistical truths.
-Staze
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Offline MichaelEvans

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #33 on: October 14, 2007, 12:02:13 am »
Or like mini-sharpies/actual sharpies for con-badges.  (I can't remember who, but it came up in the consuite and I donated all the mini-sharpies I had on me at the time, which ironically I'd just bought on a whim practically the night before.)  We should be able to get some kind of bulk rate buying 3000+ of them...
« Last Edit: October 14, 2007, 12:03:49 am by MichaelEvans »
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #34 on: October 14, 2007, 08:08:14 am »
Speaking of Old Spice, if we had Bruce Campbell as a guest he could probably get us a deal on Old Spice since he's their spokesman. ;)

I know a lot of people joke about the deodorant thing but pharmaceutical companies are more than happy to make such donations as free advertisements. I was at the Star Wars Celebration and got such goodiebags filled with soap, mouthwash, toothpaste, and deodorant.
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Offline melchizedek

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #35 on: October 14, 2007, 09:56:07 am »
to see Ash in real life, wow it would be like going to mecca
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Offline staze

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Re: Process of elections Q and A
« Reply #36 on: October 14, 2007, 10:57:48 pm »
topic please....
-Staze
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