Voting Procedures in the OSCEdays Association

This is part of the development of an organisation for the OSCEdays.


How to make decisions in the association about board representatives, projects to take on and related things?

The guidelines will of course help to narrow the scope of possible decisions. For the rest we need a voting procedure in place.

##The Members Meeting

The most important and powerful executive body of a german Verein (= association) is the Meeting of Members. The Meeting of Members has to happen at least once a year. It has to be formerly called in and usually all important discussions happen there/come to an end and all important decisions are made by vote.

Also in the OSCEdays association we want to make the Meeting of Members the most powerful body and therefore make sure, that everything is run democratic.

But since we want to have people from different countries as members a physical Members Meeting to held discussions and make decisions is not possible. Therefore we have to come up with a discussion and decision making structure that allows online participation. So that all the important decisions are already made before the actual physical meeting happens. The role of the physical meeting would just be to acknowledge the decisions made in the online processes.

Here is a possible way to do this:

##Voting Procedure

How about this steps:

###STEP 1: Announcement of the Meeting of Members (6 weeks before the Meeting)
6 weeks before the Meeting of Members is supposed to happen the date will be announced, without an agenda.

Then the members can propose applications (things to discuss and vote upon) online, password and user-name protected (using Loomio for example). Every proposed application that reaches a certain number of votes by the Members (let’s say 10% out of all members) makes it to the agenda for an official discussion and vote.

###STEP 2: Posting the Agenda (4 weeks before the Meeting)
Out of this discussions comes the official Agenda. The Agenda is basically a list of decisions that have to be made by vote. All this decisions will also be made online, password and user-name protected (using Loomio again). Some days for discussion and then a vote. Simple majority in all cast votes decides.

This voting end 2 weeks before the physical meeting happens. So all important decisions are made and known.

###STEP 3: Resolving Conflicts (2 weeks before the Meeting)
Why are there still 2 weeks left before the physical Meeting?

Given the nature of the process above it can happen (small chance) that we have to decisions that are in conflict with each other, can’t work both at the same time. For example:

Decision 1: All money should be spend on project A
Decision 2: All money should be spend on project B

So we need a run-off – a final ballot on some things. This two weeks are the buffer zone for decisions like this. This process will be framed and facilitated by the elected officials of the association.

This will probably not happen a lot and we should not put it into the statutes but in another document that is easier to change – like the election regulations.

###STEP 4: Actual physical Members Meeting
Then the physical members meeting can happen (probably in germany where the association officially resides). The role of this last part is just to protocol and present the decisions made in the online process described above. No important stuff to do or decide left.

What do you think about this?

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Making more sense now Lars, it’s great!

I can still see we will need to iron out the process a bit and definitely think we should do a prototype session to role play it out…

Our opportunities to have physical meetings are few, so I think we need to be able to use the member’s meeting as effectively as we can, without encroaching on the actual decisions made online.
I’m wondering about how we can ensure that the actual physical member’s meeting remains a formality…because things can really get going (in a good way) when people meet face-to-face. Perhaps we could have a loose format for the member’s meeting that contributes to moving the elected projects forward?

I’m still not entirely clear on who would be obligated to attend the member’s meeting, and instinctively think six weeks might be short.

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Good idea. Also we can think about how to structure the voting to minimise stalemates / conflicts.

###Physical Members Meeting without anything to do?
I see the problem too. People sitting there face to face has its own and most certainly good quality. But this main meetings will happen in germany. And hopefully we will have some members from different continents in the long run. They can’t travel to germany for this. If there are important decisions made in the physical meeting, it might feel intransparent to them … I am thinking about saying something like “For all decisions made in the Meeting there need to be an online voting process too and a time to discuss it of 2 weeks”. This might give a little bit flexibility to the meeting. They can come up at least with new ideas to vote upon.

###Who attend?
Jeap, why should you? But it is not a problem, if there is just some people, maybe 2 or 3. Because they do not have any power anyway. if there is beer and candy … maybe it will be a few more and nice to meet some others anyway :wink:
There is always the possibility to meet more often and during the year - online - and also have Loomio discussions. A lot of associations meet way more often and have time to discuss things that they then just have to decide in their main meeting. Yesterday I was talking with @unteem again that we could have a weekly public hangout (like “every wednesday”) for everyone to join.

###6 weeks?
Jeap, six weeks might be a bit short. I had 8. But thought, if you give people 3 weeks to discuss things in every step they could become lazy - “ah, there is so much time left, I will think about it later…” and then they forget. So I suggested 6. But we can change it.

I like loomio, although it is a bit untidy to read the discussion threads. but then they’re evolving as well and do listen to feedback.

I think 6 weeks should be fine.

Decision that need to be taken faster should be done by groups elected to oversee specific things, e.g. organizing the OSCE-days, oversee expenditures, work on proposals for offical defintions/ texts, give statements and talks…