RE: [802SEC] The 802.20 election procedure for July
At the end of this response to your e-mail, I have attached a collection
of what I feel the relevant rules are in SA and LMSC documents. I
invite others to find relevant blurbs I might have missed. I will
loosely refer to this collection of relevant snippets as the "block
voting" rules, even though the term "block" only occurs once in the
The term "Block Voting" is in common use within 802, and has been for as
long as I've been around. I would loosely summarize Block voting as
instances where groups of organizationally related individuals vote
based on directives from an organization rather than based on their
personal professional opinions. I think we all would agree that this
would be inappropriate behavior for IEEE 802. It is something we want
to avoid and discourage. But as you point out, it can be very hard to
detect. The real question is what should we do to avoid this?
In general we tend to model our WG voting rules after the sponsor ballot
rules. While sponsor ballots are pretty much open to any expert who
wants to participate (participation includes joining the SA), limits may
be placed on the number of experts from a specific category or firm who
can participate. Note that each expert from a category or firm might
have voted as an individual, and might have held opinions that were
quite different from other experts in that category or firm. But the SA
chooses not to risk the possibility of abuse which they might have to
detect after the fact. Rather they limit the potential for abuse by
design and state that participation by "blocks" of experts should have
limits. These limits are INDEPENDENT of INTENT! Nobody is asking will
the members of these blocks vote an individual or group opinion. Rather
the possibility of such a thing occurring is limited by design. And
while as a whole all the individual experts are welcome to participate,
it is clear that participation may be curtailed based on what firm they
work for or organization they belong to - regardless of intent.
So I disagree with your suggestion that we are saying there is a "burden
of proof" on anyone that the rules have or have not been broken. Rather
there is a burden upon us (the leadership and participants of 802) to
set up voting processes such that abuse is discouraged by design. On
the sponsor level, there are certain key pieces of information that are
collected to help design a ballot process that discourages "block"
voting. Participants are required to provide information, such as their
firm, their name, and what interest group they represent in order to
participate. This is not to prove or disprove wrong doing. Rather it
is to facilitate the design of a process where block voting is unlikely
Ultimately, I think it falls to the chair of the WG (perhaps with help
for the WG and the EC) to develop processes that implement the intent of
the LMSC and SA rules. Both sets of rules are quite open on what
techniques can be used to achieve the desired goals. I find the process
Mike suggests to be within those rules, though I'm not sure I support it
exactly as is for 802.20. But as long as it is stated up front as the
process we will follow, I think it is a valid process.
"Block Voting" Rules in IEEE SA and LMSC:
From the SA Standards Board Bylaws:
188.8.131.52 Sponsor balloting group
Potential dominance in sponsor ballots as evidenced by an unduly high
proportion of individuals from a single firm and/or organization or from
a particular balloting classification is unacceptable, counter to open
and fair participation by all interested parties, and deprecated by the
IEEE-SA Standards Board. .............
......... An organization is an entity that represents broad-based
membership interest. This includes not only standards-development
organizations but also other types of organizations such as a government
agency (federal, state, provincial, or local), user group, or trade
association. It should be noted that individual firms are not considered
to be organizations.
From the SA Standards Board Operations Manual
5.4.1 Balloting group
The balloting group shall provide for the development of consensus by
all interests significantly affected by the scope of the standard. This
is achieved through a balance of such interests in the balloting group
membership. Balance is defined as the avoidance of dominance by any
single interest category. ..............
........ Sponsors are required to classify the relationship of each
member of the balloting group relative to the scope of standards
activity (for example, producer, user, and general interest). Where
appropriate, additional classifications, such as "testing laboratory" or
"academic," may be used. This decision should be based on the effect the
standard may have on participants not already recognized by the primary
are classified in relation to the interests of their organization.
Individuals are classified based on their technical background, which
may be related to their employment, job functions, or experience.
.......... No group (classification) is permitted to constitute 50% or
more of the balloting group membership. Care shall be taken to ensure
that all classes of interest are represented to the extent possible.
From the LMSC P&P
3.4.1 Voting Guidance
It is expected that LMSC Executive Committee members will vote as both
professionals and as individual experts, except under the Directed
Position provisions of Procedure 8, and not as a member of any affiliate
block (organization, alliance, company, consortium, special interest
group, etc.). If substantive evidence is presented to the LMSC Chair
that this provision is violated, the LMSC Executive Committee will meet
to consider what, if any, action to take on the presented evidence. Such
action may include any action up to and including a recommendation for
removal from office.
..... Working Group members shall participate in the consensus process
in a manner consistent with their professional expert opinion as
individuals, and not as organizational representatives.
184.108.40.206 Working Group Chair's Authority
....... the Working Group Chair has the authority to: .........
....... Determine if the Working Group is dominated by an organization,
and, if so, treat that organizations' vote as one (with the approval of
the Executive Committee).
Vice Chair, IEEE 802
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
From: Roger B. Marks [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2003 1:23 AM
To: Sherman,Matthew J (Matthew)
Subject: RE: [802SEC] The 802.20 election procedure for July
We don't have rules against block voting. What we have is a statement
that the "Working Group Chair has the authority to Determine if the
Working Group is dominated by an organization, and, if so, treat that
organizations' vote as one (with the approval of the Executive
People from the same organization tend to vote alike. Is this a
shocking statement? Is this something we need to be embarrassed
about? I don't think so.
There is no burden of proof on individuals to show that they are
voting with an independent mind, and there is no burden of proof on
organizations to prove that their members think independently. People
from the same organization are allowed to vote the same way. This is
not against the rules!
A Working Group Chair will not find it easy to conclude that a group
is "dominated by an organization". And that's the way it should be.
This rule is, and should be, reserved for extraordinary cases. I
don't even know what kind of cases they are; I can imagine only a
few. Maybe a company gets over 25% of the membership and consistently
holds the Working Group over a barrel.
And, as I have said before, I still believe that, if we want people
to act independently of their organization, we ought not to take roll
call votes. People won't cross the boss if there is a written record
>I agree as do we all - One member, one vote. The problem is when
>members vote as organizations. This is loosely termed in our rules as
>"block voting". How can this be evaluated without data to do so? This
>is not about counting votes as organizations. It is about collecting
>data so that we know the members are voting as individuals and not
>organizations. How do you propose we account for block voting if we
>don't know what organizations people represent?
>Vice Chair, IEEE 802
>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
>From: Roger B. Marks [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
>Sent: Friday, April 04, 2003 12:35 AM
>Subject: Re: [802SEC] The 802.20 election procedure for July
>I am strongly, stridently, opposed to voting by organization or
>asking people to declare allegiance.
>What next: we ask Working Group members to disclose their investment
>portfolios, and those of their brother-in-law? Maybe a blue-ribbon
>SEC commission (the one that is supposed to "analyze the results")
>can interview each working group member and decide what in which
>interest group pigeonhole they belong?
>One member, one vote. That's the way we do business in 802.
>>This is an outshoot from my WG initial membership interpretation
>>effort. An issue I have heard raised a number of times from LMSC EC
>>members is the question of what procedure should be followed for
>>elections by 802.20 in July. Personally, I think it is
>>inappropriate for us to "force" them to use a specific procedure.
>>On the other hand, clearly people in 802.20 are wondering "what they
>>can change" that would improve the chances of their officers being
>>confirmed next time around. Based on reflector discussions to date,
>>the election procedure itself seems to have been a concern at least
>>to some EC members. Given that, I think it might make sense if we
>>"recommend" a procedure that might address the concerns of these EC
>>members. In my mind we could make a motion recommending a
>>particular procedure, and have this presented to 802.20 at the
>>upcoming interim. Mike Takefman has put forward the most detailed
>>election procedure I have seen suggested to date. Extracting from
>>one of Mike's recent e-mails that procedure would be:
>>Everyone who attended 75% of the initial session gets to vote in
> >July. All consultants should declare who their client is. The
> >elections (and probably every other vote) should be by roll call.
> >The SEC should then analyze the results as both 1 organization 1
> >vote and straight and determine if any difference in result would
>>occur. If the vote is reverse on a 1 company 1 vote basis, then
>>that vote should be taken as final.
>>Personally, I'm okay with everything but the last step. From
>>220.127.116.11 of the LMSC P&P I believe the WG Chair's job is to:
>> "Determine if the Working Group is dominated by an
>>organization, and, if so, treat that organizations' vote as one
>>(with the approval of the Executive Committee)."
>>I'm not sure if the last step in Mike's process is the best way to
>>do that. What do other people think?
>>Vice Chair, IEEE 802
>>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