How the OTW Election Works

The OTW’s balloting process

For our Board election, the OTW is using a variety of preferential voting based around the Instant Runoff Voting system. This method allows a single ballot process, and makes every vote count.

As votes are cast, the first preference of each voter is counted and those votes are used to create an ordered list of candidates. When all the first preferences are counted, if one candidate holds a majority, then that candidate is our first winner. In order to modify IRV for multiple winners, we then withdraw that winner from the ballot. The ballots that were assigned to the candidate who was eliminated are recounted and the second preferences marked on those ballots are used to reassign their votes to one of the remaining candidates. An ordered list of the candidates is created again, and the second winner is the candidate at the top of that list.

For step-by-step instructions and to see a screenshot of a sample ballot, please proceed to the voting instructions.

What is IRV?

Instant Runoff Voting is an election system that allows a decision with a single round of voting by asking voters to rank their choices in order of preference. The biggest advantage of this system for our purposes is that generally, this eliminates the need for additional balloting to break a tie. IRV also is generally resistant to tactical voting — the phenomenon of voting against the candidate you don’t want to win, rather than for the candidates you sincerely support — because this method reduces the possibility that anyone can become a spoiler candidate. Votes are not wasted, which means that the voter has a wider range of options. The ranking process may also reduce negative campaigning and conflict between supporters of different candidates — after all, one candidate won’t want to alienate supporters of another candidate as any given voter may simultaneously support both people!

On the OTW election ballot, voters may choose to rank as many or as few of the candidates as they wish, as long as they rank at least one candidate.

As votes are cast, the first preference of each voter is counted and those votes are used to create an ordered list of candidates. When all the first preferences are counted, if one candidate holds a majority, then that candidate is our first winner. If there is no majority, then the candidate who holds the fewest first preferences is eliminated. The ballots that were assigned to the candidate who was eliminated are recounted and the second preferences marked on those ballots are used to reassign their votes to one of the remaining candidates. An ordered list of the candidates is created again, and the process repeats until there is a majority winner.

IRV determines the candidate acceptable to a majority of the total number of voters — not just the candidate with the most votes, a possibility in any unranked vote on a ballot with more than two candidates.

Proxy votes

Voting by proxy is a way to designate someone else to cast your vote in an election.

The OTW is required to allow proxy-voting by Delaware law, which specifies: “A stockholder may authorize another person or persons to act for such stockholder as proxy by transmitting or authorizing the transmission of [an] electronic transmission to the person who will be the holder of the proxy.”

In corporate elections, a proxy is usually used when a voting member can’t attend a meeting in person. With extended, electronic voting, many of the usual reasons for voting by proxy do not apply. However, the 48-hour voting period may fall during a time when a voting member may not have internet access, or may have other commitments.

If you need a voting proxy, you may assign one at any point up to two weeks before the election. The proxy assignment will last for six months, and until those six months are up, we cannot revoke or change your proxy assignment. Proxy votes may not be reassigned.

Proxies are assigned by e-mail. When you send a request to assign a proxy to cast your vote, that request must originate from the e-mail account you’ve used previously with the OTW, and be addressed to both elections-chair@transformativeworks.org and your proxy. The email must also include your legal name, and a declaration that you wish to assign your proxy to the e-mailed recipient. Your proxy must then reply to all recipients, acknowledging receipt, and including their legal name in the email text. This reply must be received by elections-chair@transformativeworks.org at least two weeks before the election.

When you designate a proxy, choose someone you trust to vote on your behalf. In general, the agreement between you and your chosen proxy can have any conditions you wish, but only as a contract between the individuals. The OTW is not responsible for enforcing any conditions you set, and we cannot verify whether or not your proxy used your vote, or show which candidates they voted for.

Challenges

Only candidates may request a recount or a new vote. Any candidate who wishes to do so should send their request, with an explanation of why they think that a recount or revote is necessary, to our Elections officer within one week of the close of the polls. The Elections officer will make a ruling within a week of receiving such a request. If a new ballot is deemed necessary, voting will begin within two weeks of said ruling.