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RE: [802SEC] +++ SEC Rules Change Letter Ballot +++ Ballot on WG electronic voting

Hi Everyone,

Per Paul's request, I will be tabulating the results of this Ballot, and
working to "get out the vote".  The vote formally closes at June 8, 2002 12
midnight EDT.   We still have about 3 weeks, but we only have only had 3
people formally vote to date.  Here is the current vote Talley:

Vote Talley as of 5/14/02

00 Paul Nikolich                                     DNV
01 Geoff Thompson                    DIS
02 Buzz Rigsbee                                      DNV
03 Bob O'Hara                        DIS
04 Bill Quackenbush                                  DNV
05 Tony Jeffree                                      DNV
06 Bob Grow                APP
07 Stuart Kerry                                      DNV
08 Bob Heile                                         DNV
09 Roger Marks                                       DNV
10 Mike Takefman                                     DNV         
11 Carl Stevenson                                    DNV

6 APPROVES required to PASS.  Ballot Currently FAILING ( 1 APP, 2 DIS, 9

Please let me know if you see any errors in the accounting above.  Note that
I was a little unsure from the comments if Mike had formally voted yet or
not, but for now I have him as not voting.  

We had some lively discussion on this ballot earlier on.  A synopsis of the
comments to date is provided below.  However there has been no real activity
on this ballot recently.  If people have made up their minds, I encourage
them to express a formal vote.  If not, I encourage them to express their
concerns so that others may consider them, and we may continue to debate the
issue during the remaining 3 weeks.

Best Regards,


Matthew Sherman 
PTSM - Communications Technology Research 
AT&T Labs - Shannon Laboratory 
Room B255, Building 103 
180 Park Avenue 
P.O. Box 971 
Florham Park, NJ 07932-0971 
Phone: +1 (973) 236-6925 
Fax: +1 (973) 360-5877 

Summary of comments to date:

Ballot Comments:

Mike Takefman []  Mon 4/1/2002 9:41 AM Voting on technical motions at Meeting
The Working Group Chair may vote at meetings. ...

This should be changed to "The Working Group Chair may vote at meetings 
or on electronic votes." OR
"The Working Group Chair may vote on all motions" OR
some wording with the same effect

I will vote approve if the wording is improved.

If others do not feel the original wording restricts the chair
from voting on electronic motions I withdraw the comment and

Geoff Thompson [] Mon 4/1/2002 12:31 PM

The text in is not clear. It gives the impression that if 51% of 
the Working Group membership returns a ballot then the ballot is valid.

That could be:
         50% abstain
         40% Approve
         10% Disapprove
And the measure would pass.
I'm willing to have this sort of thing happen at a Plenary Meeting.
I'm not willing to have it happen by letter ballot on matters that should 
be decided in a meeting.

If the text is changed such that non-returned votes are considered to be 
negative on mail ballots then I will change my vote.

Bob O'Hara []  Mon 4/1/2002 5:17 PM

I vote DISAPPROVE until the following additions are made to the text
to be changed:

1) In an earlier email exchange I suggested that non-returned email
ballots be considered exactly the same as non-returned letter
ballots, i.e., that they negatively affect the non-balloter's voting
status.  Please change the first sentence in to the

"Membership may be lost if any two of the last three Working Group
letter or email ballots are not returned, or are returned with an
abstention other than "lack of technical expertise.""

2) Contrary to Geoff's position, I would like to see a minimum return
requirement as it is currently stated in, without requiring
that non-returned ballots be considered negative votes.  Counting
non-returned ballots as anything at all makes absolutely no sense to
me.  It means that someone who is no longer participating, who has
retired, who has moved into another area of work, possibly even
someone who is dead, can affect the outcome of an electronic ballot
simply by not replying.  They can continue to do this until their
voting status is lost as described in  Last I checked, the
Daly's of Chicago were not running the LMSC.

What I would like to see is a minimum abstention requirement, like
that for sponsor ballots.  Please add to "Non-returned
ballots on votes by electronic means are not counted as either yea,
nea, or abstain.  On votes by electronic means, a vote is not valid
if more than 30% of the ballots returned are abstentions."

3) I believe that the change to the title of section has
the unfortunate effect of limiting voting by electronic means to only
technical matters.  As such, it would prevent a WG from voting by
electronic means on any procedural matters, such as sending liaison
letters that were not available by the close of a meeting.  Is this
the intent of the rules change?  If not, perhaps there should be a
separate section on voting by electronic means, as there is for
voting by letter ballot.

Robert D. Love []  Mon 4/1/2002 5:11 PM

Bob, for email balloting, I believe that "Lack of Time" is a real and valid
reason for not voting on some of the issues.  Would you consider allowing
"other than "lack of technical expertise.""  to change to "other than "lack
of technical expertise" or "lack of time"", in your proposed text change?

Bob O'Hara []  Mon 4/1/2002 5:17 PM

I would consider such an addition.  However, I think that this would require
that we describe voting by electronic means in a section of its own, since
there are now exceptions only for electronic ballots that do not apply to
letter ballots.

Robert D. Love [] Mon 4/1/2002 5:49 PM

Bob, certainly once we open up balloting to electronic ballots I assume that
they could be used for purposes other than voting on document drafts.  It is
for these other drafts that I would propose the change.  The wording for
voting on document drafts should be generalized to include electronic
balloting so that we do not have to separately spell out what the rules for
voting are electronically on those drafts, as distinct from voting in a
letter ballot.

Grow, Bob []  Tue 4/2/2002 8:28 PM

WARNING!!!  We are starting down the same "rat hole" that stopped any change
in 1999.  As I recall, when we started hacking up the text to open the WG
electronic ballot process for purposes other than electronic letter ballots,
every proposed alteration created additional conflicts with other provisions
in the rules, and approval decreased.  I think most of the problems stemmed
from conflicts on eballot periods, and lack of clarity as to how an
electronic motion is made, seconded (?), etc.  If we want to codify
electronic WG motions and voting in the LMSC rules, I expect many more
changes will be required than what has been proposed by the other Bob's

I would recommend that we first legitimize our current electronic processes
before trying again to enable and fine tune additional business via
electronic means (i.e., make those other changes a separate rules change
proposal).  Personally, I need to get my taxes done before I spend any time
revisiting the more complex proposals.

Some comments:

1.  The addition of "technical" to the first line of was to
eliminate a conflict with other parts of the rules.  The 75% threshold
already in was clearly only to apply to technical decisions.
Reading all the rules with current text will show an inconsistency on the
approval threshold for a procedural motion at a meeting.

2.  The essence of the proposed change is to allow electronic means for a
letter ballot.  (The added sentence to  In that context, Bob
O'Hara's change #1 is not necessary.  It is a letter ballot if electronic or
written if we adopt the proposed change.  This change was felt necessary
because the word "postmark" implies a snail mail ballot process (and the
different ballot period recognizes the improved delivery time of electronic

3.  The rules already allow the Working Group Chair discression to submit
other matters to letter ballot (  Bob Love, if you want anything
other than an electronic letter ballot, we are heading down the "rat hole".
Bob O'Hara, could we please make your #3 a seperate rule change effort for a
new section as you offer.

4.  Bob O'Hara and Geoff.  I don't recall if "quorum" comments were part of
the discussions three years ago.  The proposed text makes no change to
existing letter ballot thresholds (again, it only allows a letter ballot to
be electronic).  The proposed text will not do anything to change what is
currently allowed other than:  a) decrease the letter ballot period to 35
days when conducted electronically, b) lower cost and resource barriers for
submitting other matters to letter ballot.

5.  It is possible within WG rules to tighten things up (e.g., 802.3 rules
include a 30% abstention threshold).

6.  Recent activities indicate that we need to improve our language on
quorums.  To that end, my preference would be a separate rules change for
the WG quorum text.  As part of that change, I would extract the quorum
sentences from into a new subsection and work on them
independent from enabling electronic letter ballots.

Something about this change engenders scope creap.  From the comments so far
we have desire to extend scope to: define electronic motions, change the
definition of quorum, add an abstention threshold

THALER,PAT (A-Roseville,ex1) [] Wed 4/3/2002 2:56 PM

1) The most urgent matter is to legitimize the Voting by Letter ballot
provisions for progressing drafts.

As such, I note that there is still a whole in that the text still does not
recognize a shorter ballot period for recirculation. I would like to see a
statement added to the paragraph like: "These times do not apply to
recirculation ballots." or "Recirculation ballots must be at least 15 days
for postal ballots and 10 days for email." 

If working out the details of non-letter ballot email votes takes more time,
then they should probably be split into separate rules change ballots.

2) Procedural - according to the text here, procedural motions don't exist
at all. The chair decides procedural matters. (see This is
different from the practice in many (all?) of the working groups which do
vote on procedural matters. The usual working group practice of majority
vote on procedural matters doesn't seem to be in the LMSC rules at all. 

I also think the particular example Bob O'Hara raises of sending a liaison
letter would be a technical vote in most cases because our liaison letters
often contain technical material such as advising another group of a working
group's opinion on a technical matter.

I'm not sure what to do about procedural matters as some more minor ones are
decided by chairs but substantive ones like setting times and places for
interim meetings and affirming agendas are done by working group votes. One
way to handle this would be for the LMSC rules to make the LMSC rules a bit
more flexible on this point changing the first line of "Procedural
matters may be decided by the Chair of the Working Group or by a vote of the
working group. The Working Group Chair decides which procedural matters
should be voted upon using the guidance of the Working Group operating

3) When motions are conducted at a meeting, there is an opportunity for
people to discuss their points of view on the strengths and weaknesses of a
motion before voting. There is also the ability to adjust the motion based
upon that discussion. If email voting is to produce decisions of equal
quality, then there needs to be a provision for discussion. (This is part of
the rat hole, but it needs to be addressed or email votes should not be
given an equal standing to meeting votes.) 

There isn't a Robert's Rules of Order for email motions so we need to create
at least a minimal structure for them.

Add a paragraph to
When it is necessary to conduct a vote on a technical motion by electronic
means, then the following procedure shall be followed. The Working Group
Chair or Vice Chair shall send a notice to the Working group to initiate a
discussion period on the proposed motion. Discussion shall use a means that
allows working group members to observe and comment upon the discussion. At
the end of the discussion period, the Working Group Chair or a Vice Chair
shall post the final motion and open the balloting period.  Working Group
operating rules should provide guidance on the length of the discussion and
ballot periods.

4) Abstentions - Working groups cover a large scope and not everyone feels
able to have an opinion on everything. I hesitate to do something where an
abstention equals a NO. If someone really doesn't have a clue, I don't want
them to just cast a Yes vote because it is easy and they don't want to
obstruct what they don't understand. Therefore, I prefer a separate limit on
percentage of abstentions over putting the abstentions into the calculation
% Yes votes. I wish there were two kinds of abstain - one for "I don't care
about or understand this area and never will" and one for "I'm not ready to
vote on this yet because I am undecided but I expect to have a position
later." Because a lot of the latter kind of abstention usually indicates
that the vote is on shaky ground but the former doesn't.

5) I don't see the relevance of the historical notes and I don't think one
voter should be singled out as the cause of earlier non-passage.

Bob O'Hara [] Mon 4/8/2002 2:21 PM

I can agree with Bob's requests to separate the various issues into
individual rules changes, if it is made absolutely clear that the current
rule change proposal for voting by electronic means is as a substitution
only for letter ballots on drafts.  I want it very clear that voting by
electronic means under this particular rule change is not for the conduct or
ordinary working group business, including the ratification of work done at
interim meetings with no quorum, or the posting of any other motion than the
question to forward a WG draft to sponsor ballot with the requirement of
technical comments to support a  vote of "no".  Any WG rules that are not
consistent with this interpretation of the LMSC rules must be clearly
indicated by the SEC to be invalid.

I continue to vote DISAPPROVE until the clarifications above are included in
the rule change proposal or until it is made clear that the rule change is
limited as I describe above and there is not yet any authority for the WGs
to conduct general business electronically.  I do not want a repeat of the
debacle after the January 802.11 interim meeting.

Grow, Bob [] Fri 5/10/2002 8:23 PM

Please note my email of 4/2 about the scope creep in recommendations by
other's commenting on this ballot; and support for independent rules change
items to address some of those concerns (plus one of my own).

Preballot Comments:

Mike Takefman []

a question from one of my people. What consitutes a quorum for an 
electronic vote (either motion or ballot).

For example, this SEC rules change ballot marks a failure to vote
as a vote against. Hence, one could argue there is no quorum requirement
as all voters end up with either a no or whatever they actually responded
with and 100% of the voters are counted.

Another interpretation is similar to those of a meeting. Specifically
the number of people who respond to the ballot as a yes or no or abstain
must be greater than 50% of the voting members.

Robert D. Love []

Mike, I believe 50% of the eligible voters voting YES, NO, or ABSTAIN, is a
quorum for electronic balloting.  See the 802.5 Working Group electronic
balloting rules I posted on the 802.17 reflector which explicitly specify

Paul Nikolich []

The quorom for an electonic ballot is that 50% of the working group voting
members must respond YES, NO or ABSTAIN.  This is exactly the same as a
quorum for any WG meeting that is not held during a plenary session.

Mike Takefman []

The confusing point was that your email indicated that
for the current SEC motion a failure to vote was counted as a NO. 
I took a quick look at the rules and it is not clear to me why a 
fail to vote on an SEC motion is a no vote. Rather the rule 
appears to state that a majority of the voting SEC members must reply.

Robert D. Love []

Mike, for SEC email ballots the eligible voters all have a very significant
commitment to remain engaged and participate in the process.  Therefore, the
SEC electronic balloting rules call for motions to pass with >50% of ALL
ELIGIBLE VOTERS.  As a consequence, not voting on an SEC electronic ballot
is equivalent to casting a NO vote.

Since the ballot group for any of the Working Groups is so much larger, even
getting 50% of the voters to respond is an effort.  It would be a useless
exercise to require Working Group e-mail ballots to have greater than 50% of
the voting members cast a YES vote.

Paul Nikolich []

The rules on voting for rules changes (3.6.5) require 2/3 approval or ALL
voting members on the SEC.  Therefore, if you do not vote, you are
effectively counted as a negative:

Approval ratio = approves/(negatives + abstain + did not vote).

Also for electronic balloting (not concerned with a rules change),
you require a majority of eligible voting SEC members.  Again, the approval
ratio puts ALL members of the SEC in the denominator.

Therefore a quorum for SEC email ballots is 100% of the SEC voting members.

Bob O'Hara []

I would like to suggest that a quorum for an electronic WG ballot should be
50% of the voting membership of the WG.  I suggest this because all of the
voting members will have received the email announcing the particular motion
on which the vote is to take place.  This means, to me, that all voting
members are "present" and have heard the question placed before the WG, just
as if they were standing in the room at a face to face meeting.  

Getting the voters to respond is simple, the rule should state that failure
to return any 2 out of 3 electronic ballots results in loss of voting
membership.  This addition helps the WG in two respects.  First it increases
participation in the business of the WG.  Second, it helps to rapidly prune
the voting roster of inactive members, resulting in a lower number of voting
members being required to reach a quorum.

Stevenson, Carl R (Carl) []

I agree with Bob's rationale, as stated below,
with the understanding that the 50% is the
total of those voting Yes, No, and Abstain.

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Nikolich []
Sent: Monday, April 01, 2002 3:18 PM
To: 'Geoff Thompson'; 'Sherman, Matthew'
Subject: RE: [802SEC] +++ SEC Rules Change Letter Ballot +++ Ballot on
WG electronic voting


FYI Mat and I have discussed this ballot and Mat has agreed to 'run this
ballot'.  This means he will: bug the SEC to return their ballot's on time,
tally the votes, collect and collate the comments and supervise the comment
resolution process.


-----Original Message-----
From: Geoff Thompson []
Sent: Monday, April 01, 2002 12:31 PM
Subject: Re: [802SEC] +++ SEC Rules Change Letter Ballot +++ Ballot on
WG electronic voting


The text in is not clear. It gives the impression that if 51% of
the Working Group membership returns a ballot then the ballot is valid.

That could be:
         50% abstain
         40% Approve
         10% Disapprove
And the measure would pass.
I'm willing to have this sort of thing happen at a Plenary Meeting.
I'm not willing to have it happen by letter ballot on matters that should
be decided in a meeting.

If the text is changed such that non-returned votes are considered to be
negative on mail ballots then I will change my vote.


At 07:04 AM 4/1/02 -0500, Paul Nikolich wrote:
>Dear SEC members,
>Attached you will find the text for the SEC rules change letter ballot on
>Electronic Voting.  (Note this is a resend of the March 17, 2002 letter
>ballot notice with the start time revised to 4/1/02 because we did not
>officially approve it for distribution until last night.  Other than that
>is unchanged).
>Scope:  To permit voting by electronic means at the working group level.
>Purpose: To facilitate the WG consensus process.
>The ballot opens April 1, 2002 and closes June 8, 2002 12 midnight EDT
>(remember if you do not vote or abstain it is equivalent to a DISAPPROVE
>vote).  Buzz, please ensure this gets sent to the 802-wide email list as
>well.  WG chairs, if you haven't already done so, please invite your WG
>members to comment through you.
>--Paul Nikolich
>Chair, IEEE802 LAN/MAN Standards Project
>cell:    857.205.0050
>mail:   18 Bishops Lane, Lynnfield, MA 01940