Public Lab Wiki documentation

Voting procedure

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This is a draft document

When to call for a vote

Want to call for a staff vote? You can do so at any time, and SHOULD do so if you:

  • want to spend a large amount of money not accounted for in a passed budget
  • want to do anything related to hiring
  • want to sign a contract or form a formal partnership

Use your judgment. Voting procedure is not an arbitrary exercise of bureaucracy, but is intended to protect staff members' right to participate in a decision.

Voting guidelines

  • Generally, votes should be broken up into smaller pieces and not bundled together into an all-or-nothing option. Be sure to use neutral language in describing options -- it's not appropriate to present an option in terms which heavily influence a voter's choice, or to present an option as inevitable.
  • ALL decisions, and especially those involving transactions of over $1000, require a concise, itemized public proposal -- it can evolve/be edited, but it must be a consistent document (wiki or Google Doc) which all parties can view, and ask for more detail on.
  • Votes can be rushed (voters should be aware that they can decline to vote on a rushed vote on procedural grounds, without that being construed as a vote against per se). But typically votes are posted Thurs-Sun or Mon-Wed.
  • Votes must include all relevant information or risk being abandoned due to incompleteness. A public shared proposal ahead of time is the best way to make sure everyone is on the same page.
  • 1-on-1 verbal consent is great, but it is not our decision-making process, and cannot be used in place of voting, as peoples' answers may be different than in a communal vote. Anonymity is intended to protect voters' ability to make their own decisions.
  • No one may vote on behalf of anyone else

When you're ready to post a vote

  • First, post the complete proposal in a Google Doc or wiki page, and circulate it to voters for review and questions. This should happen days before your vote is sent out. For the next step you can ask Jeff to help you set it up, as he is the designated voting coordinator.
  • Votes are sent out on Monday to be completed by Wednesday, or on Thursday to be completed by Sunday. If you must have an answer earlier you may try but be aware people may decline to vote on procedural grounds if they feel their ability to decide is compromised.

Create a vote

  • Create a Google Form, named after your vote; include the date.
  • For each topic, clearly and succinctly outline the proposed motion, linking to deeper information as needed. All important points -- dates, amounts, names -- should be clear.
  • List voting options as checkboxes -- allow people to choose more than one option.
  • Add a "Your name" field so we know who voted.
  • Supply a "No" option, but indicate that not checking any boxes also means that you are not voting for the motion. This is redundant but helpful.
  • Sent it by email to all voting staff members, to their Gmail addresses
  • You may share the original Google Form with others but you *must do so once the vote is completed. Share it with voting staff members' Gmail addresses.

When voting is complete

  • Post the results of the vote (preferably with who voted for what) to the staff email list.
  • Add the decision in final form with the vote count to the votes page on the PLOTS website. This is a public page.
  • Share the full Google Form with voting staffs' Gmail addresses