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OpenMPE board may consider opening vote totals

In the wake of its most popular election, OpenMPE has gotten a request to reveal the specific vote totals from the balloting which ended last Friday. One board member has replied, adding that the group may bring up the matter at this week's meeting.

Any restraint of information in the HP 3000 marketplace comes under scrutiny these days, particularly from OpenMPE. The advocacy group holds a series of telephone talks with HP's 3000 group — some of the most complete communication HP is sharing about the future of its 3000 operations. But OpenMPE had to agree, much to the displeasure of customers and former board members, to hold those talks confidential. HP wouldn't discuss its matters with OpenMPE otherwise.

If there's an issue with secrecy here, the problem doesn't appear to stem from OpenMPE. HP is the party that's insisting on being able to talk off the record. OpenMPE, like many an HP 3000 customer, hasn't much leverage to insist otherwise.

The 2006 election drew a record number of ballots, but members were voting for five directors among a six-candidate field. We hope the results from 111 voters don't call to mind hanging chads, denial of voting through inept registration, or biased election judges. (Especially the last one, since I was the only outside observer of the vote.)

But specific candidate vote totals from these elections — which would show how close the balloting really was — have been closed to the OpenMPE membership. Some board members believe that's been a policy of courtesy to the losing candidates.

Without giving out this information, it's just one more thing that a critic of OpenMPE can use to claim the advocacy group isn't open. Having seen the results in detail, but been asked to keep them to myself for now, I can say it doesn't seem like there's anything to hide here.

John Wolff, the vice-chairman of the group, reported to me in an e-mail that the group might revisit the election details question this week.

Our Board met on Monday to ratify the election results. This question came up and historically we have not released the individual vote totals for each candidate, just the results of who was elected.  I am not completely sure why we don't do it; perhaps to not embarass some individuals.  Of course, we would never release who voted for whom.  Since this was a Board-level decision, I do not want to authorize the release by myself. Personally, I am fine with it either way.  Maybe we could revisit the question at our next meeting.

OpenMPE has only had four elections, counting this year's. We've been the observer for three, here at the NewsWire. None of our observed elections included a report on specific vote totals. Perhaps this is one user request OpenMPE can deliver quickly, without putting it through the HP wayback machine.