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.

Election Delay

We’ve had a short delay in the election starting due to an issue with our voting software. It’s now fixed, and the ballots will be out in the next two hours. Thank you so much for your patience, and happy voting!

If you have any questions, please let us know using our contact form.

Elections 2015 Q&A and Chats

The Elections season is still in full swing! This post has the full round-up of the candidates’ answers to your questions, as well as dates and times for the public chats.


There will be five public chats, all of which will last 90 minutes. Four of them will have three candidates in attendance, and the final chat will have all six–so each candidate will attend three chats total. Chats will take place in our public chatroom.

They are scheduled for:

During these chats, OTW members and volunteers will have the opportunity to ask the candidates questions not already covered in their manifestos, bios, and Q&A, as well as to ask individual questions of specific candidates. If anyone isn’t able to ask all their questions by the end of a given chat, they’ll have an hour to submit their questions via the Elections form; Elections staffers will submit the questions to candidates either at future chats or separately to be added to the chat transcript.

We hope that you can join us for one or all of these chats!


When we posted the Board candidates’ bios and manifestos, we asked the public to submit additional questions for them. Once again, our sincere thanks to everyone who did so! We have been posting groups of questions as the candidates finished them, and the process is now complete.

The following is a list of the topics covered by the questions. Clicking on a topic will take you to the tag containing all the candidates’ answers on that topic.

To navigate answers by individual candidate, please use the links below:

To read all the posts regarding Q&A, simply select the Q&A 2015 tag. You can also read more about the Q&A process.

Elections Membership Deadline and October Drive Timing

Some folks have asked why the October Drive and the election membership deadline are not connected this year, as they’ve been in the past. The change was made as part of a broader shift in how the election process is managed. In the interest of transparency, we’ve outlined the details of this shift below.

Back in June, the Elections Committee approached the Development & Membership Committee about decoupling the election from the October Drive. The committees agreed to do so. This is the first step toward an eventual goal of having the same membership deadline every year, so members won’t have to guess the date each time. It also allows each committee to make decisions that work best for their individual teams, instead of trying to force changes on each other to the detriment of their staff or of OTW members. In this case, the current election dates have the advantage of allowing the election to be open for 4 days instead of 2. The Elections Committee hopes this will increase participation and decrease the need for proxy voters.

The membership cutoff date for being able to vote in an election is currently one month prior to the election, in order to allow our all-volunteer staff time to prepare accurate voter rolls (including members who pay by check), set up proxy voters, email voter instructions in advance, pay for the software, etc. Since a donation of $10 or more to the OTW gives the donor one year of membership, anyone who donated in the previous 2 drives (May 2015 and October 2014) is eligible to vote in this November’s election. Anyone just joining the OTW now will be eligible to vote in 2016’s election.

The membership deadline was posted on the OTW and elections websites and tweeted on both accounts. Those donors whose memberships were set to expire prior to the election deadline were each sent an email giving them the option of renewing in time to vote this year. We’re happy that so many people renewed their memberships due to interest in this election!

You can find more information about the current election here on our website by selecting either the Election News or 2015 links above. “Election News” has fewer posts, since it’s solely focused on announcements, while “2015” has every post related to the current election. If you have questions about the election process, please use our contact form to get in touch with us. You can also follow our Twitter to keep up with the latest election news.