Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,

Drafting Ahead

While sitting in the break room at my office, I am working on drafting the "Popular Ratification" proposal for introduction at this year's Worldcon Business Meeting.

This would replace the current ratification process for amendments to the WSFS Constitution (proposals that pass the WSFS BM one year must be ratified by the WSFS BM the second year) with a vote by the membership of the second year's members instead of the Business Meeting. Constitutional amendments would still have to originate from and pass the WSFS Business Meeting, but they would be submitted to the members of the following Worldcon. Anyone who would otherwise be eligible to vote on site selection at that Worldcon (in practice, at least the supporting and attending members) could vote yes or no on ratification of amendments. (You wouldn't have to pay the "voting fee" that Site Selection collects. That's not really a fee to vote, understand — it's a membership in the N+2 Worldcon.) Anything that got more yes than no votes would be ratified. (That formulation is to avoid questions of a quorum or how to handle blank or illegible ballots.)

The proposal upon which I'm working is necessarily complicated, as anything that changes the ratification process of constitutional amendments has to deal with the transition between systems. Complicating this is that I plan to propose that this change not only has to pass one WSFS BM and be ratified at the following WSFS BM (the current system), but also must then be submitted to the members of the Worldcon after that for ratification under its own rule; however, until it gets final ratification under its own rule, the old rules still apply. Furthermore, because Constitutional amendments do not take effect until after the Worldcon at which they are ratified, anything that gets first BM passage at the Worldcon at which the new system is ratified by the members (assuming it is) would still be subject to ratification by the Business Meeting the following year. Only new proposals getting first passage the following year would be subject to the new rule. Thus it would take five years for the entire set of changes to play out.

The challenge, of course, is that the Business Meeting is going to have to be persuaded to vote away some of its own already-limited authority. And furthermore, I expect many people will look at the proposal and find the most convoluted and confusing ways to misinterpret it rather than look at what I consider the plain meaning and intent of a proposal to increase the participation in the rulemaking process to a greater proportion of the members and to also improve the perception of legitimacy of that process.
Tags: worldcon, wsfs
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