Nikisha Sanders 2015 Q&A: Finances, Group 1

When Elections was ordered to remove Nikisha Sanders from the 2015 Election ballot, the committee was told to erase all information about her candidacy from the website. However, Elections firmly feels that there is no situation in which candidates, whether former or current, should be silenced or erased from Election information. As in all circumstances, Elections’ policy is to only edit and/or post candidate-written information with candidate permission. Therefore, with Sanders’ permission, we have posted the Q&A responses she completed prior to her removal.

If elected to the board, will you push for a published yearly budget? What would you consider key items in a budget? (more…)

Nikisha Sanders 2015 Q&A: Conflict Resolution, Group 1

When Elections was ordered to remove Nikisha Sanders from the 2015 Election ballot, the committee was told to erase all information about her candidacy from the website. However, Elections firmly feels that there is no situation in which candidates, whether former or current, should be silenced or erased from Election information. As in all circumstances, Elections’ policy is to only edit and/or post candidate-written information with candidate permission. Therefore, with Sanders’ permission, we have posted the Q&A responses she completed prior to her removal.

Please describe your approach to conflict resolution. (more…)

Nikisha Sanders 2015 Q&A: Conflict of Interest

When Elections was ordered to remove Nikisha Sanders from the 2015 Election ballot, the committee was told to erase all information about her candidacy from the website. However, Elections firmly feels that there is no situation in which candidates, whether former or current, should be silenced or erased from Election information. As in all circumstances, Elections’ policy is to only edit and/or post candidate-written information with candidate permission. Therefore, with Sanders’ permission, we have posted the Q&A responses she completed prior to her removal.

How would you define the term “conflict of interest” and how might it apply to you while serving on the Board? (more…)

Election Statistics for 2015

Some of you were interested in a release of statistics about the Election, especially regarding the number of votes each candidate has received. While we understand this request, due to election policies, we are unable to release specific vote counts for candidates. Our process is designed to elect an equal cohort of Board Members, to enable them to work together well. Therefore, we normally will not reveal which of the elected candidates received the most votes, and will simply announce who was elected. As a general rule, we also won’t disclose which of our unsuccessful candidates received the fewest votes, since we don’t want to discourage them from running again in the future when circumstances and member interest might be different. In addition to that, we’re not allowed to disclose most of the information we acquire about our voters.

Due to recent events, we released the ranking information about this year’s candidates with permission from 5 of the 6 candidates (we did not ask Andrea Horbinski). However, as our goal is to promote an equal and harmonious Board of Directors, we do not intend to reveal this information in future elections unless a situation like the one we witnessed last weekend happens again.

For the 2015 Election, we had 7997 total eligible voters. 621 voters cast a ballot, which represents 7.8% of the potential voters.

Comparatively, the highest turnout rate was in 2011, when about 25% of members voted; we’re aware that this sharp rise was mostly due to widespread recognition of one of the candidates. We don’t have voter turnout information for 2010, only anecdotal statements that it was significantly lower than that.

We will continue to work on ways to better reach out to our eligible members to encourage them to vote in elections, since whoever is elected to the Board of Directors can have an important influence on the long-term health of the OTW’s projects.

Board Appointment of Last Place Candidate to Empty Board Seat

On 14 August 2015, the Board voted to change the size of the Board from 9 Directors to 7. Before this vote, the Board informed Elections that only 2 seats would be available to be filled this year. This is complicit with Article V, #3 of the by-laws, which states that at least 2 Directors must be elected yearly, and if the Board has 7 or more Directors, at least one-third of the Directors must be elected yearly.

On 16 September, the Elections Chair pointed out that, since it is possible to elect more than the minimum requirement in a given year, we had an opportunity to revitalize a shrinking Board due to the unexpected candidate turnout this year. (There was initially a total of 8 candidates.) The Board overruled this, with Andrea Horbinski replying as follows: “The Board has voted to set the size of the board at seven directors. Since we elected three people last year, we can elect two people each this year and next year and easily be on a regular schedule–the same one we were on before the size of the Board was increased to nine.”

Later, the Board removed Nikisha Sanders from the ballot. Again, the Elections Chair protested and was overruled by the Board. Subsequently, Dan Lamson withdrew his candidacy.

6 candidates ran in the final election. They were voted on and ranked by members in this order:

  1. Matty Bowers
  2. Atiya Hakeem
  3. Alex Tischer
  4. Katarina Harju
  5. Aline Carrão
  6. Andrea Horbinski

The 5th place candidate, Aline, received 2.89 times more votes than the 6th place candidate, Andrea.

Today, the Board held an Open Board meeting in the publicly accessible Public Discussion channel. Despite not warning the volunteers, members, or Elections Committee that this vote was expected to take place, the Board voted in favor of Andrea Horbinski returning to the Board to finish out the term ending 31 December 2016, which was vacated at the end of 2014 by Anna Genoese. Andrea Horbinski, Margaret J. MacRae, Cat Meier, and Jessica Steiner voted in favor, Eylul Dogruel abstained, and Soledad Griffin was absent. You can read a transcript of this vote and the resulting reaction at this link.

In 2010, a similar situation occurred when a Board member retired immediately after that year’s election. At that time, the next-place candidate, Hele Braunstein, was brought in to fill the seat. Precedent, common sense, and ethics dictate that the membership’s choices in an election be considered and respected. The Elections Committee supports the appointment of Alex Tischer to the Board to fill Anna’s seat. If Alex does not wish to take on the position, we support the appointment of Katarina Harju or Aline Carrão, in that order.

ETA November 23, 2015: The 2015 Board has resigned, effective December 15. They will be replaced by Atiya Hakeem and Matty Bowers, who will join the Board no later than December 1.

ETA2 November 23, 2015: Due to these unusual events, Elections Staff released the ranking information about this year’s candidates with permission from 5 of the 6 candidates. However, as our goal is to promote an equal and harmonious Board of Directors, we do not intend to reveal this information in future elections unless a situation like the one we witnessed last weekend happens again.

2015 Election Results

The Elections Committee would like to thank all of our candidates for their hard work in this year’s election. With that, we are pleased to present the results of the 2015 Election.

Atiya Hakeem and Matty Bowers (in alphabetical order) have been officially elected to the Board of Directors. The new members of the Board will formally begin their term overlap on December 1. We wish them well with their terms.

With that, the election season comes to a close. Thank you to everyone who got involved by spreading the word, asking the candidates questions, and, of course, voting! We look forward to seeing all of you again next year.