The Steering Committee is growing

An operating addendum was adopted last month which contains all the procedures for periodic elections and distribution requirements. This article repackages those policies in the form of a Frequently Asked Questions document.

· 4 min read

And nominations are now being accepted

DIF was established to represent our fast changing community and to create a safe space for the co-development of next-generation code and specifications. From the original handful of members 4 years ago, the foundation has grown to become an organization with over 200 member companies, representing thousands of PRs and a strong commitment to decentralizing identity software.

Since its inception, DIF has been primarily governed by a Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is a  group of member representatives whom lead DIF, set strategy, assure the high quality of ratified work items, react to the community’s needs, among other decisions.

Photo courtesy of Element5digital

Over the last year, one of the main foci of the current Steering Committee has been restructuring itself to ensure it will represent the interests and diversity of its growing membership. Among the conclusions of this analysis was that a larger steering committee would garner more trust and visibility into DIF's internal governance as an organization. An operating addendum was adopted last month which formalizes procedures for periodic elections and distribution requirements. The following repackages those policies in the form of a Frequently Asked Questions document: for further clarification, see the addendum itself.


When are the dates and deadlines for this election cycle?
  • Announcement of election + Nomination starts - 8th April (Thu)
  • Last day for questions to candidates - 6th May (Thu)
  • Nomination Closes - 13th May (Thu)
  • SC ballot opens - 20th May (Thu)
  • SC ballot closes - 27th May (Thu)
  • New SC first meeting - 3rd June (Thu)
Who can be nominated and by whom?

Any individual who is active in DIF can nominate a DIF member to the Steering Committee, and/or get nominated for the Steering Committee by someone else. We recommend nominating members of the DIF community with high visibility and recognition, whether among DIF's membership or among the wider community. Only one individual can represent each DIF member organization, and there are distribution criteria to keep the Steering Committee balanced, but those considerations are applied *after* the election. This means that multiple colleagues from the same member organization can be nominated and accept that nomination, but only one of them can sit on the Steering Committee. The DIF membership includes Associate members, Contributors, individuals who signed a Feedback Agreement, and adjacent/partner organizations referred to as Liaisons (i.e. OIDF or Hyperledger).


Nominations should be sent to the nominations at identity.foundation email address.


How and when do nominated people become candidates?

Nominees will be contacted by DIF staff and must accept the nomination before the nomination period closes. Along with confirmation that they would serve if elected, they also provide a short biography and an optional statement describing their interest in and qualifications for serving on the Committee. Early nominations are encouraged.


How do voting members select which candidates to support?

DIF Staff will share this list of accepting nominees and their statements with the membership via Slack. Since all Associate Members are eligible for one vote, it is recommended that colleagues within one member company confer or discuss in backchannel before submitting a vote on behalf of their whole company.


How can interested DIF members ask questions of all the candidates to help them decide?

If there are specific issues of interest to all or most of the DIF membership, any DIF member (whether they work at an Associate Member organization or not) may send clear questions to DIF staff. Nominees should send these questions to the nominations at identity.foundation email address, and a representative cross-section of these (lightly edited or unedited) will be compiled into a document sent to all nominees.


Who votes and how?

Only associate members can vote, and each votes as a whole on one ballot. This too is done as via email: ballots should be sent to the nominations at identity.foundation email address. These will be audited confidentially and not published in any way (not even as tallies). If one member organization accidentally votes more than once, DIF staff will reply to the emails to clarify the issue, so please use a monitored/normal email address in the organization's domain rather an personal accounts or "alts". All ballots are assumed to be collective/company-wide decisions even if multiple are received.


How many candidates can each associate member vote for?

Each ballot should contain between 0 and X names, where X is the number of open seats. Most elections, X should be between 4 and 6. If less than X are named, the rest of the organization's votes are forfeited-- each vote counts singly.


When is the actual election period?

DIF elections run for one week, from the distribution of the final list of candidates to one week later at midnight EST. In this election, those dates will be Thursday 20 May and Thursday 27 May, respectively. In the weeks leading up to 20 May, DIF staff will also contact all associate members to clarify any questions about the process and confirm the dates, the number of seats, the nominee statements, etc.


How often will the Steering Committee elections take place?

They are expected to be annual, with 2-year terms to preserve continuity across elections. If seats are unexpectedly made available between elections, they will stay open until the next election.


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