Organization for Transformative Works/Elections

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Name: Elections Committee of Organization for Transformative Works (OTW)
Date(s):
Profit/Nonprofit: Nonprofit
Country based in: USA; international volunteers
Focus: Handles elections procedures for the Board elections
External Links: Elections website
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The Elections Committee is one of the committees involved in the Organization for Transformative Works. The purpose of the committee is to co-ordinate and oversee the Board candidacy and election process in the OTW.

As of April 2019, the Elections Committee has 14 staff members, including two co-chairs. The Elections chairs are briar_pipe and Jenny McDevitt.

History of Board Elections Overseen

Role in the 2015 Board Election

The OTW 2015 Board Election was notable as the first contested Board election since 2011. The Elections Committee co-ordinated the candidacy and elections process as normal, and on November 10 2015 announced the 2015 Elections Results.

In an open Board meeting following the 2015 election, the incumbent Board of Directors appointed Andrea Horbinski, who had been an unsuccessful candidate in the election, to an open Board seat which had not been put up for election.

In response to this, the Elections Committee published a post entitled Board Appointment of Last Place Candidate to Empty Board Seat. In it, they made the decision to reveal the order in which the six candidates for the 2015 election had ranked, in order of number of votes received, in order to show that Andrea Horbinski had in fact received the lowest number of votes, yet was now being appointed unopposed to an open Board seat.

The Elections Committee wrote in the post that:

"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."[1]

They later edited the post to assure OTW members that the candidate ranking had only been revealed due to the exceptional circumstances, and that the Elections Committee did not intend to make revealing the order of candidate ranking in elections a regular practice.

"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."[1]

The move was widely applauded by the Organization for Transformative Works volunteers and membership as a necessary act to promote transparency and to draw attention to the dubious practices being carried out by the incumbent Board. One commenter on the 'Appointment of Last Place Candidate...' post wrote that,

"As a voting member of the OTW, I STRONGLY support the the position of the Elections Committee that the appointment of Andrea Horbinski was wildly inappropriate and unethical, and that Alex Tischer should, by both logic and precedent, be appointed to fill the seat that became available."[1]

Another commenter wrote:

"I would like it on record that I hold the whole election committee in high esteem."[1]

For more details about the events of the 2015 Board Election, see OTW 2015 Board Election.

Links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Board Appointment of Last Place Candidate to Empty Board Seat (Published November 23, 2015; accessed March 21, 2017)."