Report # 1
June 2, 2001
The USGenWeb Election
Committee hereby respectfully submits the following report to the USGenWeb
Prior to the seating of
the Election Committee, Linda Haas Davenport acting as temporary chair
of the Committee requested web space and an e-mail list from Rootsweb.
Rootsweb granted her request for web space but also told her that the Election
Committee e-mail list already existed and was available from the National
Coordinator. The National Coordinator turned over the list to the temporary
chair who added all Election Committee members.
The EC (Election Committee)
is made up of: Two members for each of the four regions of the Project;
Two members for the Special Projects and two members at-large for a total
of twelve members. Eleven members may vote and the Chair may only vote
in the case of a tie.
The USGenWeb Election
Committee was seated and began business January 29, 2001. The Temporary
Chair called for nominations for permanent Chairperson. Linda Haas Davenport
was unanimously elected as Chairperson and was formally approved by the
Advisory Board on Feb 7, 2001.
Upon taking her position
as Chair, Linda called for nominations for the office of Publicint>
The Chair issued a Welcome
Message that included the "rules" by which the Committee and e-mail list
would operate. One of these "rules" was that the Committee would operate
as a confidential list. This was to insure that the members would be able
to voice their thoughts, concerns and make suggestions without having to
worry about what someone outside of the committee would say or think. One
of the members, Carol C-H, was not happy with this. The Chair opened the
issue for discussion. During this discussion it was pointed out that the
Chair had not issued a gag order but rather required that each member keep
confidential the discussions taking place or that would take place on the
list. The Chair called for a vote. Ten votes were cast in favor of the
list being confidential and one vote was in favor of an open list. As a
result of the vote Carol C-H resigned from the committee.
The Chair asked for nominations
for a replacement for Carol C-H. Keith Giddeon was nominated.. Keith was
selected by a unanimous vote of the EC. He was approved by the AB and seated
on the committee.
Following the Guidelines
established by the Election Study Committee there were actually two "first
order"s of business. One was to find available voting software that conformed
to the requirements of the Guidelines. And the other was to secure a copy
of the prior election committee's voting list.
The Chair was placed in
charge of securing the voter list and the rest of the EC began the search
for voting software. The Chair was unable to secure a list of the prior
voter's list for a few weeks. And, after four weeks of searching the web
the EC was unable to find any voter software that conformed to the Guidelines.
Two sites were found where the voting software met all requirements, except
one, both of these sites charged fees.
The EC held a lengthy
discussion and it was decided that the EC should oversee the development
of voting software for the use of the Project. A search was begun for a
programmer or programmers who would be willing to develop voting software
for the Project. Michael Anderson volunteered to write the code for the
Voting Software and Keith Giddeon and Kenneth Thomas (EC members) agreed
to work with Michael to develop the software. Michael is not a member of
the USGenWeb and has no interest in genealogy.
The Election Study Committee
had conducted a survey of Project Members and during this survey it was
suggested (by one of the respondents) that the EC look at the voting software
developed by the IA State and Local Coordinators that was in use for the
state of IA. It was agreed upon by the EC that the Chair should contact
the IA people and determine if the EC could review their voting software.
The Chair contacted Loren
Toomsen and he was kind enough to set up a test of the IA's software for
the EC members. The voting software was excellent but there were several
areas that did not conform to the Guidelines set forth by the Election
Study Committee. A discussion was held to determine if the IA's software
could be modified to fit the Guidelines and it was determined that it would
require paying the original software programmer to modify the code. Therefore
the EC unanimously agreed to go forward with the development of voting
software program for the Project.
While the development
of the software was underway the EC members contacted all State and Special
Project Coordinators for a list of names and e-mail addresses of all LCs
in their states or projects. This was a slow process and in several instances
the Committee members found it necessary to visit the state site and collect
names and addresses themselves. Once all lists were completed they were
turned over to Keith and Kenneth to compile into one membership list. This
process is now underway.
During this same time
frame the Chair tried to secure the voter list from the prior election
committee. This list was not received until most cussion. During this discussion
it was pointed out that the voter software and the full voter list would
not be stored on a Rootsweb server, that only the web site and e-mail list
would be. It was felt, by the vast majority of the EC members, that since
the National Web Site and the majority of the Projects state and county
sites were hosted by Rootsweb that the EC's web site should be also. The
Chair called for a vote. Ten members voted to use Rootsweb and one member
voted against using Rootsweb
One of the Committee members
voiced her concerns about how the Project members would view the use of
Rootsweb as the server for the Election Committee's web site and mailing
list. The Chair opened the item for disof the EC members had
already compiled their own lists. However, last year's list was used as
a comparison to this year's list.
The EC is very aware of
the problems of past elections and the way that some Project members feel
about Rootsweb, therefore - Once the decision was reached to develop voting
software a search for a secure server was begun.
One of the concerns voiced
by the Election Study Committee was that some (if not many) volunteers
would object to their name being placed in a voter list if the list could
be harvested and some members would object to a list being housed on a
Rootsweb server. The EC kept that thought in mind as they searched for
a secure server.
There were several sites
suggested and the Chair visited each and signed up for server space, using
a different name for each site. Within a week the Chair started receiving
spam under each name she had used. In a casual discussion the Chair was
having with a friend about the problems of finding a secure server, the
friend (Ms. Keuchler) suggested that the Chair contact a friend of hers
who has a large server system. The Chair contacted Mr, Kettmann and he
agreed to allow the voting software and the membership list to reside on
one of his servers. Mr. Kettmann has no connection with nor interest in
genealogy or the USGenWeb Project. His servers are as secure as the EC
could find and as far outside of Project as possible.
At this time Michael is
working with Mr. Kettmann set up the server space and to upload the voter
software. Keith and Kenneth will upload the membership/voter list as soon
as the final list is complete. Once everything is in place a test will
be conducted by the EC. After this test the software will be adjusted for
any problems encountered and then the software will be set up for a test
election and all members of the Project will be invited to participate
in the test. The EC will welcome any and all comments, suggestions or criticisms
after the test.
One final item needs to
be mentioned - Debbie Anderson, our PR/Secretary has tendered her resignation
due to her pending promotion which will leave her no time for outside activities.
Therefore, as Chair, I am submitting this report on her behalf. The EC
will notify the AB as soon as replacement has been selected by the committee.
The EC will issue another
report as soon as the test is completed. In the meantime we will be glad
to answer any questions you may have.