One of the important considerations in any election is that the people running it should not allow their personal views to affect how the candidates are treated, and should not abuse their authority. To help make this clear and prevent any confusion, we’ve laid out a few guidelines for the various staff involved behind the scenes.
Besides facilitating everything for the candidates and liaising with the current board, the Elections Officer has a very public role as they are the interface between voters and the OTW. The Elections Officer is allowed to post their thoughts on the direction of the org up until the deadline for candidates to declare they are standing, but cannot do so during election season. The Elections Officer must not endorse particular candidates in private or in public, and the Elections Officer will not comment on the strategic direction of the org or other hot topics once election season starts, excepting any statements required as part of their other org roles. Once a week during the election season, the Elections Officer will discuss with the board which are the hot topics and areas where the Elections Officer should remain clearly neutral. Election season is defined as beginning with the candidate declaration deadline, and ends after the possibility of an election recount has passed.
The same rules about not endorsing candidates either in public or private, and not commenting publicly on the direction of the OTW or hot topics, will apply to the two Webmasters staff involved in counting votes. These staff members will also not be named outside of the Webmasters committee, the Elections workgroup or the standing Board, so that they cannot be put under external pressure to falsify results.
Board members other than the Elections Officer are free of these restrictions, and may endorse candidates publicly and comment on issues affecting the org just as they would at any other time of year.
If you have any other concerns about the neutrality of staff involved in the election, or how things are run to give a level playing field to all candidates, do contact the Elections Officer or the current Board.