Voting2016

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This is a proposal to modify the TAG/AB election voting system in the W3C Process to use a "Single Transferrable Vote (STV)" tabulation system. Questions? Contact Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org> and cc <public-w3process@w3.org>.

Design Goals

  • The tabulation system description (and choice of specific tabulation system) should be independent of the process document text.
  • The tabulation system should be described independent of specific voting operations (e.g., the forms that members fill out).
  • The tabulation system should be described independent of any software we use to compute results should be independent (that is: we should not rely on a single piece of software for implementation).

Tabulation System

Choice of Tabulation System

  • There are numerous STV variations. Each variation in turn may have various options when using it.
  • We propose to use Meek STV for several reasons:
    • We have (limited) experience with it
    • One can validate results manually more easily than with other methods (e.g., Schulze)
    • Meek supports incomplete ballots
  • In addition, we propose to use the following options (and to announce these at election time for transparency):
    • Precision: 6
    • Threshold: Droop
    • Static
    • Fractional
  • Although one can use Meek STV to address ties (for seats or short terms), we propose to use our traditional random verifiable procedure for ties.

Description of Tabulation System

Editor's note: My expectation is that W3C would publish this sort of description and announce it with the call for votes.

  • The tabulation system is Meek STV, with these options:
    • Precision: 6
    • Threshold: Droop
    • Static
    • Fractional
  • Each voter may rank any number of the nominees (with "1" being most preferred). Note that voters may rank more nominees than there are seats up for election. Please note that when tabulating by Meek, voters do not rank two candidates equally.
  • See section 2.5.2 of the Process Document for how W3C will resolve ties for seats and short terms.
  • @@We will include a draft ballot to reduce surprises, give an opportunity to fix ambiguities or bugs, etc.

Process Document Changes

List of Individual Changes

All changes but the last are to section 2.5.2 Advisory Board and Technical Architecture Group Elections. The last is to section 7.3 Advisory Committee Votes

Change 1

Old:

  Any Call for Nominations specifies the number of available seats, the deadline for nominations, 
  and the address where nominations are sent. 

New:

  Any Call for Nominations specifies the number of available seats, the deadline for nominations, details about the 
  single-transferrable vote (STV) tabulation system selected by the Team for the election, and operational information. The
  Team may modify the tabulation system after the Call for Nominations but must stabilize it no
  later than the Call for Votes.

Change 2

Old:

 Greater than the number of available seats, the Team issues a Call for Votes that includes the names of all 
 candidates, the number of available seats, the deadline for votes, and the address where votes are sent.

New:

 Greater than the number of available seats, the Team issues a Call for Votes that includes the names of all 
 candidates, the number of available seats, the deadline for votes, details about the single-transferrable 
 vote (STV) tabulation system selected by the Team for the election, and operational information. 

Change 3

Old:

 When there is a vote, each Member (or group of related Members) may vote for as many candidates 
 as there are available seats; see the section on Advisory Committee votes.

New:

 When there is a vote, each Member (or group of related Members) is invited to submit one ballot that 
 ranks candidates in the Member's preferred order.

Change 4

Delete:

 The candidates with the most votes are elected to the available seats.

Change 5

Old:

 In case of a tie where there are more apparent winners than available seats (e.g., three candidates receive 10 
 votes each for two seats), the verifiable random selection procedure described below will be used to fill the 
 available seats.

New:

 In case of a tie where there are more apparent winners than available seats, the verifiable random  
 selection procedure described below will be used to fill the available seats.

Change 6

Old:

 The shortest term is assigned to the elected individual who received the fewest votes, the next shortest to the 
 elected individual who received the next fewest, and so on. In the case of a tie among those eligible for a short 
 term, the verifiable random selection procedure described below will be used to assign the short term.

New:

 If the tabulation system ranks candidates according to their level of support, the shortest term is assigned to the 
 elected candidate who received the least support, the next shortest term to the elected candidate who received 
 the next least support, and so on. If the tabulation system does not rank candidates according to their level of 
 support, or in any other cases of a tie among those eligible for a short term, the verifiable random selection 
 procedure described below will be used to assign short term(s).

Change 7

Old:

 In the case of Advisory Board and TAG elections, "one vote" means "one vote per available seat".

New:

 In the case of Advisory Board and TAG elections, "one vote" means "one ballot in response to the Call for Votes".

Integrated View of Changes

Section 2.5.2:

The Advisory Board and a portion of the Technical Architecture Group are elected by the Advisory Committee. An election begins when the Team sends a Call for Nominations to the Advisory Committee. Any Call for Nominations specifies the number of available seats, the deadline for nominations, details about the single-transferrable vote (STV) tabulation system selected by the Team for the election, and operational information. The Team may modify the tabulation system after the Call for Nominations but must stabilize it no later than the Call for Votes.

...


If, after the deadline for nominations, the number of nominees is:

  • Equal to the number of available seats, those nominees are thereby elected. This situation constitutes a tie for the purposes of assigning short terms.
  • Less than the number of available seats, Calls for Nominations are issued until a sufficient number of people have been nominated. Those already nominated do not need to be renominated after a renewed call.
  • Greater than the number of available seats, the Team issues a Call for Votes that includes the names of all candidates, the number of available seats, the deadline for votes, details about the single-transferrable vote (STV) tabulation system used for the election, and operational information.

When there is a vote, each Member (or group of related Members) is invited to submit one ballot that ranks candidates in the Member's preferred order; see the section on Advisory Committee votes. Once the deadline for votes has passed, the Team announces the results to the Advisory Committee. In case of a tie where there are more apparent winners than available seats, the verifiable random selection procedure described below will be used to fill the available seats.

If the tabulation system ranks candidates according to their level of support, the shortest term is assigned to the elected candidate who received the least support, the next shortest term to the elected candidate who received the next least support, and so on. If the tabulation system does not rank candidates according to their level of support, or in any other cases of a tie among those eligible for a short term, the verifiable random selection procedure described below will be used to assign short term(s).

Section 7.3

The Advisory Committee votes in elections for seats on the TAG or Advisory Board, and in the event of a formal appeal of a W3C decision. Whenever the Advisory Committee votes, each Member or group of related Members has one vote. In the case of Advisory Board and TAG elections, "one vote" means "one ballot repsonding to the Call for Votes."

Voting Operations

  • Todo: We will need to update the forms that Members use to vote. This will mostly mean:
    • Removing unused tabulation systems
    • Linking to the announced voting mechanism description.
    • Adjusting the explanation of the management of ties.

Software we use to compute results

  • We have experience with OpenSTV. It would be good to gain experience with other tools that support the tabulation system.

Communications

FAQ

Why was STV Chosen?

The W3C Membership recommended that W3C experiment with different voting mechanisms for TAG and AB elections. After analysis of the 2-year experiment, the Membership supported the adoption of STV tabulation with the expectation that it will be more representative of the Membership's will.

Why was Meek STV Chosen?

  • We have (limited) experience with it
  • One can validate results manually more easily than with other methods (e.g., Schulze)
  • Meek supports incomplete ballots