CZ Talk:Referenda (Citizen-Initiated)/Elections

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Electoral system

I certainly support changing the electoral system, but I'm unclear over exactly how this proposed system works. Are votes transferable, for example? John Stephenson 13:37, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

There are systems available with the software to help count the votes when we get more complicated (i.e. transferable votes). I'd support this if transferrable votes were added, or we just picked one of those methods specifically rather than trying to develop our own. D. Matt Innis 02:29, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
I am not against transferable votes, but considering the animosity against "complicated" systems I wanted to keep the rules simple and usable without a software. The ballot is not ordered. It is only necessary to count how many votes each candidate has got. Of course, in order to resolve ties a transferable voting system would be useful. If the referendum passes it could be considered as an impulse to change the voting system and the system could be improved further. --Peter Schmitt 21:03, 14 December 2011 (UTC)


With the electorate so small this referendum could mean that a small turnout could leave the Councils undersized for three months and no guarantee that a special election would resolve the issue. With an electorate in single figures (a not unlikely proposition) then Johns idea that being nominated by a Citizen in good standing is enough approval would be more suitable. I think both referenda should be made to work together, thereby covering both aspects. David Finn 10:00, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

In my opinion, it is much better to tolerate an incomplete Council than to have an official who is willing to serve but not accepted by a large majority. --Peter Schmitt 21:06, 14 December 2011 (UTC)


As Dan has pointed out on the forums, this referendum, if passed, would produce a rule that is probably a violation of the Charter, specifically Article 30, section 5:

5. The nature of the ballot shall be determined by the Management Council, provided that any method adopted must be accessible and usable by every Citizen.

So we need to modify the Charter to allow an alternative electoral system. We are now entering uncharted waters, since there is no obvious mechanism to remove a rule that is passed by majority Citizen consent, other than by another referendum. A MC veto would arguably be undemocratic, since the rule would have community backing. I suggest we vote against this proposal but return to this matter before June, and in the meantime also look at the articles I mention below:

The phrase "nature of the ballot" in Article 30 is rather vague and implies that the MC could determine not only the electoral system but the eligibility criteria. This is already possible for the Managing Editor election, since Article 26 constitutes a ballot access law which, in theory, gives the MC the power to block all candidates (including the incumbent seeking re-election) bar one. Likewise, only one Combined-Council-approved candidate for Ombudsman is allowed under Article 28. The present office-holders entered office following a full election procedure (for the ME, only Editors were eligible; for Ombudsman, Gareth was the only candidate). John Stephenson 12:26, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Speaking of the Ombudsman and the ME, the MEs role is to ensure by means of executive decisions that the principles and policies of the Citizendium are effectively and coherently observed and to make interim decisions on behalf of the Editorial and Management Councils when established policy does not provide guidance, and the Ombudsmans role is to offer guidance on existing policy and its interpretation, so if a referendum is supported by the Citizens then wouldn't it be up to the Ombudsman and ME to determine how it should be interpreted with reference to the current Charter provisions? David Finn 13:26, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I fully agree that the rules concerning elections (both by the Charter and by the MC) need review. With this referendum I want to initiate a process that, I hope, will lead to such a review. However, in my view Dan's argument is not valid. By the Charter, every issue is in the purview one of the Councils, the Constabulary, the ME or the Ombudsman. Thus the same argument could be used against any referendum proposed (except Charter amendments). Clearly, "plain" referenda are meant as a tool that allows the community to act instead of an official body. --Peter Schmitt 21:17, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
It was quite on purpose that this is not a Charter amendment. In my view, details on the election process do not belong into the Charter (and it was a mistake by the MC to make them -- by means of a referendum -- part of the Charter).
As already said, I do not agree with the reasoning that this referendum contradicts the Charter. But even if: In this case it would be reasonable and fair to expect from the MC that it would "convert" a successful referendum into a Charter-compatible rule by accepting it as an MC motion.
--Peter Schmitt 01:23, 15 December 2011 (UTC)