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I frankly don't understand why it is not possible to register a proxy vote in advance of the September 23rd meeting. I know what and who I would like to vote for, and don't have several hours available in the middle of a workday to listen to presentations that may/may not be relevant. 

In any *real* election, there are provisions for early and mail-in ballots. Why does CIRA insist on limiting the ability of its members to weigh in on decisions in a similar fashion?

You have seven days to vote electronically. You don't have to vote at the AGM. Electronic voting starts at the AGM and continues for seven days. Here is the appropriate sections from the bylaw.
"The Election of Directors may take place electronically, or by any other means as determined in the Corporation’s Policy on Nominations and Elections in effect from time to time. The Election of Directors shall take place at each Annual General Meeting at which an Election of Directors is required and shall continue for the seven (7) day period following (the “Election Period”) or until such other extended period of time as may be determined by the Returning Officer in accordance with the Corporation’s Policy on Nominations and Elections."
Kerry Brown

Agreed, Kerry.  Proxy voting is a double edged sword; it sounds like it allows member engagement but in many cases it consolidates stakeholder power. CIRA puts a lot of effort into making sure the AGM is something you want to attend, with fantastic speakers and multiple avenues of attendance. 

One voice, one vote, has always seemed very fair to me.  I think that the lengthy board election voting period is sufficient for the question being asked, but ultimately proxy voting is something that I would consider fairly low priority in terms of member engagement, but certainly something that CIRA could look into.

There is much to be done to improve governance, the election process as well as stakeholder engagement.

Part of that is to look into allowing proxy voting.  Public operations certainly allow proxy voting.  I see many benefits including better member engagement.    Of course, we would have to ensure that no one could stack the deck, or put their thumb on the scale!  

On my part board governance is a high priority item as is looking at proxy voting as an option. 

Because of the low number of members who vote, proxy voting would allow a board take over by a special interest group. The reason for the current convoluted election process is precisely because of a concerted attempt to capture the board in the past.

 

Kerry,

As I don't have your experience with CIRA can you tell us who can potentially try a "concerted attempt to capture the board".  For example, I have been on other boards which  featured "slates" and voting along those lines.  I am not a fan of slates as I think that all board members must be independent, making their own informed decisions - to be so and look so.   Nor am I a fan, as I have previously stated, of excessive number of board terms (is that a form of board capture - staying on too long?).  The board needs to be refreshed.  It needs diversity, competence as well as bilingualism (some not all).  

It was before my time as well so I don't have the details. My understanding is a group tried to get a slate elected. The group had a commercial interest in the domain market.

 

This is one of the reasons I would support a limit of four terms. Because of CIRA's election cycle and policies the board has a lot of turnover. There is not a long term institutional memory at the board level. There is the founding member, John Demco, who has a non voting advisory seat on the board. When he no longer wishes to do this there is no one with more than nine years. I think it would be wise to have a non voting member, possibly a past president position, on the board. It should be a position that has nine years experience. This would give the board an institutional memory of at least twelve years.

I support Kerry's idea of including a past president non-voting position on the board to keep institutional memory. 

I believe the CIRA two-stage process is an excellent model to ensure that the Membership Candidate chosen has presented their views to all members.  There were originally around 40 candidates and now 10 for the final selection process.  While you may have made your mind up, others may not have and we should respect that all have the ability to have their platform positions known and not simply be a “name on the list.”  At the end of the day, all candidates should be given the opportunity to be heard by all members.  The one week process for dialogue followed by a one week process for voting allows that to happen. 

Looking at the original question, the current process to vote for nominees, have a week-long Q&A forum, and then vote for candidates seems fair in terms of informing and accommodating members.

Interestingly, per Roberts Rules of Order, not for profits do not permit proxy votes because "proxy voting is incompatible with the essential characteristics of a deliberative assembly in which membership is individual, personal, and nontransferable." Food for thought, but that said, it would be prudent for CIRA to survey its members on their sentiments around this year's election process, and if the Board receives enough proxy topic inquiries, survey members on proxy voting as well.

With respect to the subsequent postings, Board term limits and fresh blood are a good thing , and institutional memory can be sustained through staggered terms, and the proper minuting of board topics, actions and decisions.