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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    Board of Directors ICANN's Florida Electoral Moment: What if the Wrong Guy Wins?
    posted by michael on Sunday March 16 2003, @05:11PM

    Yes, it happened: The GNSO Council ousted Alejandro Pisanty from the Board and voted in Michael Palage in the first round of voting.

    Pisanty and Philip Sheppard were aggressively backed by the Business, intellectual property and ISP axis that used to reliably give Marilyn Cade control of almost anything the Council did. But the new balance of power on the GNSO Council, which gives "contracting parties" (registrars and registries) half the votes, upset that equilibrium. Palage received 14 votes; Pisanty only 6; and Sheppard 4. The key swing votes came from two members of the Noncommercial Constituency. With NCUC having been constantly under attack by Pisanty, they were less than charmed about re-electing him. And so, with the blessings of NCUC's favorite-son candidate Barbara Simons, they shifted their votes to Palage on the first round.

    But wait. If you lose an election, you can always try to change the rules afterwards. And that's what the formidable Marilyn Cade is trying to do.

    The mode of attack: a retroactive move to invalidate the votes of the Noncommercial Constituency (NCUC). Indeed, in a message to the GNSO Council Ms. Cade claimed that the entire NCUC delegation to the Council was invalid, because it did not hold its most recent elections correctly. (So far, no specific charges have been articulated, and the NCUC is scratching its collective head because not a single seat on their Adcom was contested.)

    Note that Cade's sudden ethical epiphany came only after the results of the Board election were known. Members of Cade's Business Constituency were phoning NCUC representatives seeking their votes as late as 10 pm, March 12. In fact, the NCUC representatives on the Council were elected way back on March 2, and seated in the GNSO on March 4. They were sent Council ballots on March 6. They held those ballots for a week, and had all sent in their votes before any challenge was made. The NCUC election process was over two weeks old and no hint of a challenge was ever made by anyone on the Council until March 13. Odd, isn't it?

    Knock out the NCUC and what do you get? 21 votes instead of 24. And Palage still gets the majority of them (12 of 21). This was pointed out by the chair of the GNSO Council, Bruce Tonkin of Melbourne IT. But no, ignore that: no matter what, if the wrong guy wins the election must be invalid.

    Cade's proposal? Eliminate the NCUC representatives, conduct the election again without it, and this time give her side more votes by re-weighting the distribution so that the remaining representatives of the user constituencies get half the votes instead of the 42.8% they have without the NCUC. Even if the shifting doesn't give her a majority, a new vote creates plenty of opportunities for arm-twisting, and she wouldn't repeat the tactical error of splitting her votes among two candidates on the first round. She might just have to win over one vote to turn the election.

    The title of this piece may cast an unfair aspersion on the state of Florida and the US elections. The problem with the 2000 election was that we really didn't know WHO won; Bush and Gore were in a statistical dead heat. So the process of challenging and reviewing voter qualifications had some legitimate basis. But this election is being challenged even though the outcome was clear and would have been the same even without the disputed votes.

    It just goes to show that if the Cade-backed faction doesn't get their way and elect one of their handmaidens, they'd as soon wreck the entire election process as allow Palage's convincing victory to stand. And of course, leaving the charred remains of the NCUC in their wake is just another bonus.

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  • Michael Palage
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  • Also by michael
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    ICANN's Florida Electoral Moment: What if the Wrong Guy Wins? | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 2 comments | Search Discussion
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    The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
    So what's new?
    by ldg on Monday March 17 2003, @07:59PM (#11336)
    User #2935 Info | http://example.com/
    If this challenge is even allowed, it just further negates any hope of legitimacy, which it doesn't have anyway. Please tell me what possible difference it makes if there is still no representation of the at-large community. The entire thing is a sham and these antics by Ms. Cade do nothing more than make the power plays a bit more public.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    The Other Shoe
    by jberryhill on Tuesday March 18 2003, @05:11AM (#11338)
    User #3013 Info
    ICANN's inquiry with the NCUC [icann.org]
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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