This information sets out how members of the International Conference of Information Commissioners (ICIC) exercise their votes on matters that require a decision from the members.
It sets out guidance to members on how to cast their votes and to the Secretariat and the Host of the ICIC on how to manage the voting process.
It also sets out the voting basis (the bases for determining the voting results and the set of members to which the proportion applies).
Membership and the Voting Process
Only Accredited Members of the ICIC can vote.
The ICIC membership is composed of Information Commissioners, as defined in the Charter, who may represent national, sub-national, supra-national and institutional jurisdictions.
Section 14 of the Charter provides for General Voting Rules which give the ability to each member to vote on matters that require decisions while providing for Special Voting Rules for votes where a “one member one vote rule” may result in an imbalance between the various members or where a simple majority rule may not be appropriate under the circumstances.
In addition, to ensure that all members are able to cast their vote, irrespective of the circumstances, the ICIC provides for the ability of members to vote by electronic means. Unless otherwise stated, if an electronic vote is arranged in advance of the annual meeting, that vote will normally close 24 hours before the start of the Annual Meeting.
Voting at the Annual Meeting
In adopting the ICIC Charter, members recognised the crucial importance of annual meetings in achieving the goals and objectives of the International Conference.
In accordance with this principle, voting matters will be presented to the membership in advance of the annual meetings.
Voting matters can be presented to the membership outside the annual meetings in extraordinary circumstances and after unanimous decision by the Executive Committee.
General Voting Rules
The General Voting Rules are described in sections 7, 8 and 14 of the Charter. They state that members have the right to vote on any matter requiring a decision by members. They state that, unless otherwise provided for in the Charter, each member has one vote. The Charter also recognises the right to cast a vote electronically.
In addition, unless otherwise specified in the Charter, decisions of members are made by a simple majority.
Special Voting Rules
There are three situations detailed in the Charter that hold for Special Voting Rules:
1. The election of the members of the Executive Committee
2. The selection of the Host of the ICIC
3. Amendments to the Charter
Under the above circumstances, section 15 of the Charter provides that each country will have two votes:
A. A member which is a national entity representing an entire country with no subnational or institutional authorities will cast two votes.
B. For countries with several authorities in a federated country, the two votes will be allocated as one vote for the Member representing the Federal jurisdiction and one vote for the collective of Members representing the sub-national jurisdictions from the same country.
a. The one vote for the collective of sub-national jurisdictions will be decided by a simple majority of the collective votes of the sub-national Members. In the event that the collective votes of the sub-national members representing one country result in a tie, the collective vote of these members will result in an abstention for the sub-national level.
b. If the authority representing the Federal jurisdiction is not an accredited member of the Conference, the two votes will be allocated to members representing the sub-national jurisdictions
C. For countries with several authorities with institutional jurisdictions, the authority with the residual jurisdiction will represent the federal jurisdiction and the other authorities with institution specific jurisdictions will represent the subnational jurisdictions. The votes will be allocated as per the federated country, as detailed above.
D. Further to the rule that only accredited members can cast their vote, and to points 2. and 3. above, if only one entity of a federated country is a member of the ICIC, the two votes of a country will be allocated to that member, irrespective of whether the member is the national, the subnational or the local entity. The same logic applies when only the subnational institutions are members of the ICIC.
1. Election of the members of the Executive Committee
The election of the members of the Executive Committee is made by a simple majority.
More detail concerning the election of the members of the Executive Committee can be found in the Executive Committee Election Process.
2. Selection of the Host of the ICIC
The selection of the Host of the ICIC is made by a simple majority.
More detail concerning the selection of the host of the ICIC can be found in the Host Application Process.
3. Amendments to the Charter
Section 52 of the Charter provides that amendments to the Charter require a two third majority.
More detail concerning the process to amend the Charter can be found in the Process to amend the Charter.
A. Roles and Responsibilities of the Secretariat
In accordance with section 33 h. of the Charter, the Secretariat assists the Host of the ICIC with the organisation of the annual meeting. This will include assisting the Host with the management of the voting process.
B. Roles and Responsibilities of the Host of the Annual Meeting
In accordance with sections 35 g. and 35 h., the Host of the Annual meeting chairs and manages the voting process of members and chairs and manages the election process of the Executive Committee.
Step 1 – Preparing the “list of members”
When proceeding to a vote by the membership, the Secretariat prepares a list of members and identifies them by country, and whether or not they are from a federated state or a state where there are several institution specific members. In such circumstances, the Secretariat lists federated members and sub-national members, residual jurisdiction and institution specific members.
This list is to allow the Host and the Secretariat to collate the votes in accordance with the voting rules of the Charter.
Step 2 – Preparing the “List of Votes” in advance of the annual meeting
In advance of the Annual Meeting, the Secretariat prepares the “List of votes” which enumerates the matters that will require a vote from members and the type of vote and the voting requirements for each of the votes (e.g. simple majority or two-third majority, general or special voting rules).
Once the “List of votes” and the list of members is completed, the Secretariat reviews the lists with the Host at the latest 7 weeks prior to the Annual Meeting.
Step 3 – Publication of the “List of votes” and of the electronic voting details
The Secretariat publishes the list of votes 6 weeks before the Annual Meeting on the restricted portion of the Conference website.
The notice includes links to all relevant documents pertaining to the matters put to a vote
The notice also provides members who are unable to attend the Annual Meeting in person with the details for the electronic voting.
Step 4 – Collating electronic votes
With the exception of issues relating mediation or conflict resolution, the electronic vote closes 24 hours before the beginning of the Annual Meeting.
The Secretariat collates the electronic votes and keeps the tally of these votes secret until the voting of members present at the Annual Meeting occurs.
Step 5 – Voting at the Annual Meeting
The Host of the Annual Meeting manages the voting process with the help of the Secretariat.
In most instances, the votes will be easily counted by show of hands and the tally of electronic votes. In situations where the voting results are not readily apparent, the votes will be counted by the Secretariat, taking into account the Special Voting Rules as required. The Secretariat will tally all votes and share the information with the Host who will announce the results of the vote to the members
Step 6 – Voting after the Annual Meeting on Conflict issues
The Charter allows members to make oral representations on conflict issues at the Annual Meeting. In such circumstances, members not present at the annual meeting may cast their vote after the Annual Meeting, after the Secretariat has circulated a report on the motion which includes the representations made by members at the Annual Meeting.
The electronic vote is launched as soon as possible after the Annual Meeting and remains open for a period of three weeks.
The Secretariat then collates all the votes including the electronic votes and informs all parties of the result of the vote.
The Executive Committee issues a decision based on the vote at the Annual Meeting and on the electronic vote as soon as feasible after the electronic vote has concluded.
The decision is sent to parties involved and is subsequently published on the ICIC website.
Voting procedure outside the Annual Meeting
Where exceptional circumstances require that a vote is held outside the Annual Meetings, the Executive Committee, after unanimous decision, will set up a separate process which defines the timing and details of the vote.
A. Conflict Resolution
Sections 42 to 47 provide for a process where a conflict arises in the interpretation of the Charter or its processes. In such cases the matter will be brought first to the attention of the Executive Committee for their consideration, mediation and resolution. In the rare event where the conflict cannot be resolved by the Executive Committee, the matter will be referred to the members for a resolution by way of a vote.
Sections 14 and 46 of the Charter provide that in such a case each member will have one vote and that the vote will be decided by a simple majority.
As the Mediation and Conflict resolution Process (to be published) allows for members involved in the conflict to make representations, including at the annual meeting, special provisions have been made for the electronic voting process to take place after the annual meeting.
B. Withdrawal of Membership
Sections 39 to 41 provide for the possibility of members to vote to exclude a member permanently or temporarily from the ICIC where the member has demonstrated a pattern of behaviour which is inconsistent with the values of the ICIC.
In such cases, the matter will be brought first to the attention of the Executive Committee for their consideration, mediation and resolution in accordance with the ‘Mediation and Conflict resolution’ process. In the rare event where the situation cannot be resolved by mediation of the Executive Committee, the matter may be brought to the members for a vote by way of a motion to the membership.
Sections 14 and 40 of the Charter provide that in such a case each member will have one vote and that the vote will be decided by a two third majority.
As the conflict resolution process allows for members involved in the conflict to make representations, including at the annual meeting, special provisions should have been made for the electronic voting process to take place after the annual meeting.
Votes at the Annual Meeting on the withdrawal of membership are cast by secret ballot