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Board Approves Bylaw Changes on ALAC's Certification of At-Large Structures

ICANN's Board unanimously adopted a resolution <> on 4 December 2005 which changed the bylaws to reduce the number of votes required to certify or decertify groups as "At-Large Structures."

The At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) recommended that the Board amend the bylaws to improve the process by which the ALAC certifies or decertifies groups as "At-Large Structures". The ALAC proposed to reduce the number of required votes of ALAC members for approval of applications for At-Large Structure certification, as follows:

Existing bylaws:

Article XI, Section 2, paragraph 4(i): "... Decisions to certify or decertify an At-Large Structure shall require a 2/3 vote of all of the members of the ALAC and shall be subject to review according to procedures established by the Board."

Replace with:

"Decisions to certify or decertify an At-Large Structure shall require a 2/3 majority among all of the members of the ALAC who cast a vote, provided at least nine members of the ALAC cast a vote according to procedures adopted by the Committee. These decisions shall be subject to review according to procedures established by the Board.

The bylaws which established the ALAC also established the process by which groups would be designated as "At-Large Structures". After using and attempting to improve this process for two years, and voting on 26 applications, the ALAC determined that a change was needed. The ALAC found that the "super-majority" threshold for certification (2/3 of the ALAC, which is 10 votes) was cumbersome and unnecessary and impeded progress in building a network of user groups involved in ICANN At-Large. The ALAC proposed the new voting requirement to achieve the objective of ensuring groups comply with the At-Large Structure criteria, as well as to expedite the ALAC's processing of applications.

Additional Background

Groups throughout the world that deal with individual Internet users' interests are encouraged to register and participate in ICANN At-Large by submitting a short application form. Groups that that meet the few simple criteria listed on the ALAC website can be certified as 'At-Large Structures'. Steps for 'At-Large Structure' certification are as follows:

  • A group reviews the criteria for an At-Large Structure (ALS) and, if it believes it meets the criteria, completes and submits an ALS application, which is posted on the ALAC website.
  • The ALAC conducts due diligence, checking the application and available information and performing necessary tasks in an effort to ensure that the criteria has been, or will be, met.
  • The ALAC reviews the application and related documentation.
  • The ALAC votes via email on certifying the applicant as an "At-Large Structure."
  • The ALAC notifies the applicant of its decision and posts ALS notices on its website.

Unfortunately, the ALAC found that it is not always feasible for fifteen internationally distributed volunteers to vote on each application. Recently, three applications did not receive the required 2/3 votes, even though a majority of members voting supported the applications (only one "no" vote was cast on one application). Reducing the required number of votes as proposed by the ALAC, coupled with the ALAC's due diligence to verify that applicants meet the At-Large Structure criteria, will better enable the ICANN At-Large framework envisioned in the bylaws to be created.