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Go Daddy veep loses ICANN election to “none of the above”

Kevin Murphy, October 22, 2015, Domain Policy

ICANN’s multistakeholder GNSO Council has been left embarrassingly rudderless after its members failed to elect a new chair.

The unprecedented result saw Go Daddy VP of policy James Bladel lose an election to “none of the above” yesterday.

Under GNSO rules, there are two candidates for chair. One is nominated by the Contracted Parties House (registries and registrars), the other by the Non-Contracted Parties House (intellectual property interests, ISPs, non-commercial users etc).

Bladel was the CPH candidate. He stood against Australian academic Heather Forrest, on the council representing the Intellectual Property Constituency.

To get elected, a candidate must get 60% of the vote from both houses.

In the first round of voting, conducted via secret ballot, Bladel won 100% of the CPH vote and 47% of the NCPH vote.

Forrest was then eliminated for the second round, which meant Bladel proceeded to a second round of voting: him against “none of the above”.

Council members took 15 minutes out to discuss among themselves what to do.

When they returned, Bladel’s CPH support remained unchanged, but he had only managed to get 53.85% of the NCPH vote.

If my calculations are correct, Bladel essentially missed the 60% threshold by a single vote.

That means the GNSO Council no longer has a chair.

The interregnum will last at least a month.

Each house now has until November 5 to make new nominations. The election will then be re-run “no sooner than 30 days” from yesterday.

In the meantime, the two vice chairs are running the show. The CPH said its current vice chair Volker Greiman will remain in the role while a new chair is being elected. The NCPH has not yet appointed a vice chair.

This morning, the CPH issued a statement that read in part:

Like many in the GNSO Community, the Contracted Party House is disappointed in the unprecedented outcome of the Council election. It is particularly unfortunate that this scenario occurred at a time when ICANN is in the global spotlight.

Throughout the election process, the common theme has been an agreement amongst all Councilors that either candidate would have made a competent and effective GNSO Chair. However, the qualifications of both candidates were ultimately disregarded.

In recent history, GNSO chairs have been drawn from the registries and registrars.

Since 2009, the chairs have been Jonathan Robinson (Afilias), Stephane Van Gelder (then Group NBT, a registrar), Chuck Gomes (Verisign).

This trend did not escape the notice of GNSO members, who quizzed Bladel and Forrest on Sunday on whether they would be able to give fair treatment to both houses on the Council.

Both candidates gave gracious responses. Bladel said:”The chair does not get extra votes when it comes to decisions. The chair does not have his votes taken away; his or her votes taken away. So really this is a question of optics.”

ICANN board seat up for reelection

Kevin Murphy, February 3, 2012, Domain Policy

ICANN’s Address Supporting Organization has kicked off an election for one of its two official representatives on the ICANN board of directors.

Director Ray Plzak sees his three-year term come to an end in June. He’s standing for reelection, but has competition from three other candidates.

The ASO represents the oft-overlooked IP address side of the ICANN house. Its members belong to the five Regional Internet Registries that are responsible for doling out IP space.

In this election, all four candidates are from ARIN, the North American RIR community: Plzak, Eric Brunner-Williams, Martin Levy and William Manning.

The winner will be selected by the ASO’s ruling Address Council in May. Until April 19, the ASO wants public comments on the candidates.

Graham beats Doria to ICANN board

Kevin Murphy, May 8, 2011, Domain Policy

Bill Graham of the Internet Society has won an election to ICANN’s board of directors.

Graham beat academic Avri Doria by 8 votes to 5 in the second round of polling from the Non-Contracted Parties House of the GNSO Council.

He will take his seat at the end of ICANN’s meeting in Singapore next month, June 24, replacing trademark lawyer Rita Rodin Johnson, who is reaching the end of her term.

Graham currently leads ISOC’s “strategic global engagement” initiatives.

(UPDATE: Thanks to Graham for alerting us to the fact that he actually retired from ISOC a week ago).

Until 2007, he was director of international telecommunications policy with Industry Canada, the Canadian government’s department responsible for the technology economy.

In that role, he also served as vice-chair of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee.

The current GAC chair, who also has a non-voting seat on the ICANN board, is Heather Dryden, also a senior policy adviser at Industry Canada.

Graham will become the fourth former GAC member to join the ICANN board, after former CEO Paul Twomey of Australia and current directors Bertrand de la Chapelle of France and Gonzalo Navarro of Chile.

Here’s a useful infographic, courtesy of ICANN, that shows how the board is composed (click to enlarge).

ICANN Board structure

The two green squares are set aside for members of the GNSO. One is for “contracted parties” such as registrars and registries. Graham, elected by the NCPH, will take the other.

In the first round of voting, which concluded a week ago, Doria led by 7 votes to 6, one short of the 8 votes needed to win.

While the voting was private, it is believed that non-commercial and commercial stakeholders voted in blocs in the first round – commercial for Graham, non-commercial for Doria. In the second round, two of her supporters evidently switched sides.

Graham and Doria were the only candidates to be nominated.

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