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Re: Secret ballot and RMS Resolution

Stefano Zacchiroli <zack@debian.org> writes:

> This is probably something that should be fixed in the Constitution, by
> mandating secret voting for elections whereas living to the judgment of
> the secretary whether other GR votes should be secret or not.

I didn't quite parse that, so I'm not sure if this is what you were
already proposing, but I wonder if we should just have secret ballots for
all votes.  That avoids the argument over whether a given vote should be a
secret ballot.  I admit to being endlessly curious about the opinions of
my fellow contributors, but that's just me being nosy and I don't have any
real reason to need to know.  Secret ballots seem like they would be
reassuring for the people who are the least willing to be vocal on mailing

In the current on-line landscape, I think it's also incumbent on any
organization to look for ways in which their procedures or tools could be
used for harassment and to try to make them safer, and secret ballots seem
like an obvious thing for us to do here.

The obvious difficulty with secret ballots is that it requires a lot of
trust in the votetaker.  We have a verification process for people to
check whether their vote was recorded correctly, but I don't think there's
any good way with our style of secret ballot to verify that the votetaker
didn't add new votes that no one actually sent.  But (a) personally I am
not worried about the Project Secretary manipulating the vote, and (b) I
can think of a few ways to deal with that should that ever be enough of a
concern, such as having a small number of people trusted with confidential
information jointly double-check the tally.

This obviously would have an impact on the Project Secretary, so I'd love
to hear Kurt and Neil's opinion about the possible merits of going to
secret ballots for all votes.

> But that cannot be fixed in a timely manner. I'm not sure what other
> options we have here.

I can't think of a good one either.  There's proxy voting (find Debian
Developers who don't want to vote personally and have them cast votes for
other Debian Developers who aren't willing to vote a public ballot), but
gah, what a logistical mess.  I'm not sure we could pull it off.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)              <https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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