Annual General Meetings/2020/Voting Information and Instructions

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

IMPORTANT - Test your browser settings, otherwise you might send an empty vote

The voting email from Opavote links directly to the voting page, which is listing each candidate in random order and allowing you to rank the candidates in order of preference. The voting emails will be sent on the 5th of December 2020.

If you do not see the names of the candidates on the page linked from the voting email:

  • Please make sure that you have Javascript enabled. Disable any plugins that block content (like Decentraleyes or uBlock Origin). Otherwise the list of the candidates will not be visible and you will send an empty vote.
  • Test your browser settings before voting by visiting this sandbox voting page where you should see a list of OpenStreetMap editors (randomised each time you load the page). Use the same browser settings when you proceed to vote for the election and resolutions. The sandbox page is only for testing purposes: the vote button does not work and votes on the OSM editors are not counted.

This is how the voting pages should look (except the red arrows and fake candidate list):

Voting eligibility

Election and proposed non-special resolutions

You are entitled to vote for the election and the proposed non-special resolutions if

  • you are a member for the full 90 days prior to the AGM date (membership start date before 2020-09-13) and
  • your membership is not in arrears 7 days prior to the AGM date and
  • you are a natural person.

The non-special resolutions are:

Special resolution: Allow non-board members to sit on OSMF Committees

You are entitled to vote on the special resolution (allow non-board members to sit on OSMF Committee) if all of the above criteria apply and you are a normal member.

Mechanics of voting

OpaVote platform

For this election, polling will be performed online using the widely-used OpaVote, which is a hosted platform.

Voting email(s)

Each person entitled to vote will, on the opening of the polls (Saturday, 5th of December 2020 at 16:00 UTC), receive one or two emails (one for Associate members and two for Normal members) from OpaVote, each containing a unique, non-spoofable, voting link. The email(s) will be sent to the email address associated with your OSMF membership.

  • The subject of the first email will be: 2020 OSMF board election and proposed resolutions [some_random_letters]. Normal members will also get a second email to vote on the special resolution, with subject 2020 OSMF AGM - Voting on allowing non-board members to sit on OSMF Committees (special resolution) [some_random_letters]
  • The sender will be:

Please check your spam folder. If you believe that you should have received an email to vote, but you can't find it, please send a message to with the subject "AGM2020 - No voting email received".

Voting duration

Voting will open early on the week before the AGM and continue until the AGM. Because the count is electronic, it is expected that the result will be announced without delay. Please try to cast your ballot well in advance of the deadline.

Result verification

The raw ballots (which are anonymous) become available after the end of the election and can be exported as a structured data file to a stand-alone tool, OpenSTV, for independent verification of the count and the outcome.

  • The OpaVote results will be verified by Michael Spreng (Membership Working Group) using OpenSTV before they are announced.
  • The raw ballots will be made available to any member wishing to reassure herself or himself of the correctness of the result.

Questions and Answers

What is the voting system?

OSMF elections are, in accordance with our Articles of Association, now to be held in accordance with the Single Transferable Vote model. This is an approach designed to allow for a more equitable outcome to multi-candidate elections than would a simple “most votes” model. Specifically, it permits each voter to rank candidates in order of preference, with the number of available seats being allocated to the most preferred candidates on their reaching of a “quota” or threshold of votes. Where a candidate fails to achieve a quota, s/he is eliminated, but the next preferences of each voter having chosen that candidate will be distributed to other candidates. This is intended to reduce strategic voting and allow voters to allocate their first preference to their actual preferred candidate, secure in the knowledge that their second and subsequent preferences will be heeded even if the preferred candidate has only a slim chance of success.

A number of approaches are available both in determining the quota and in the detail of how votes are transferred. Our rules do no stipulate which should be used for OSMF elections and the distinction is in practice not a large one. This election will be conducted according to the Scottish rules for STV elections:

Scottish STV

Am I eligible to vote?

Please see the "Voting eligibility" section above. You can also review article 75 of the OSMF Articles of Association.

Will my vote be secret?

The platform preserves the expected secrecy of ballot, exposing operational statistics related to turnout and including details of who has and has not voted. OpaVote conducts the counting process automatically and generates a result and the outcome of each round of counting. It does not provide information about what specific voters have voted, but after the end of the election it provides a file with anonymised raw ballots.

How many emails will I receive from the OpaVote system?

  • If you are an Associate member, just one. It will enable you to vote for the board elections and the proposed non-special resolutions.
  • If you are a Normal member, you will receive an extra email, enabling you to vote for the proposed Special resolution.

I haven't received the link to vote. Can you help?

  • Please check whether you are eligible.
  • Please search the email account associated with your OSMF membership, including your spam folder. See the section Voting email for the subject line and sender.
  • If all fails, please email with subject line "AGM2020 - No voting email received", from the email account associated with your membership.

How many candidates should I add on my list?

There is no obligation to assign a preference to each candidate - you may, if you wish, vote for only one single candidate or for a small number. However, doing so may deny you from further influence on the outcome of later rounds of vote counting if none of your chosen candidates are elected. Please see the section "voting system" above, for more information.

Can I change my vote? Can I vote again?

You may vote only once - attempting to re-enter the voting process using the same link will deny you access, but your earlier ballot will still count. So, if you think you have not made up your mind yet, wait and vote later.

I was in a hurry and I think I sent an empty vote. Can anything be done?

Unfortunately, the vote was lost. Once it has been sent, the system does not give us any ability to cancel it/revoke it or reset it. If you would like to help us, you can test your browser settings, and let us know which add-on/plugin caused the problem. Please send a message to with the subject "AGM2020 - Add-on/plugin causing problems". Thank you.

Warnings regarding javascript and add-ons blocking content and link to the page for testing settings are on these places: