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Revising the Board Election Rules, 3rd iteration

October 8th, 2010 by

After the second iteration on the rules, a number of clarifications have been made and also the complete rule set got reordered and edited.

I’d like to thank David that did the major editing on this one.
What do you think? Are we good now to run the next elections with these rules?

openSUSE Board Election Rules



The board consists of six members: five seats are elected by the community and a chairperson is appointed.


The openSUSE board term is two years.


To provide continuity to the organization, the chairperson shall be appointed and replaced at Novell’s discretion.

Election period:

The election period is normally from 1st January to the following 31st December.

Company affiliation:

To help ensure that the board will always represent a wide part of the community, no single organization or company can control more than 40 per cent of the elected or appointed board seats.

Good faith:

Members of the openSUSE board shall act on behalf of all openSUSE contributors in the best interest of the openSUSE project. Although board members may be affiliated with companies or organizations that have an interest in the success of openSUSE, they will not be considered representatives of the companies or organizations with which they are affiliated.



Only openSUSE members may vote, each member having one ballot that has one vote per seat to be elected.

The eligible candidates who receive the most votes fill the vacant seats.

Election Committee:

The election is run by an Election Committee that consists of at least three openSUSE members. The Election Committee is appointed for each election by the board.


A new board’s term should start on the first of January, the elections should be finished 14 days before. In the case of delays, the new board will start 7 days after the election results are published.

Appointed board members or members elected during ad-hoc election will start 7 days after appointment or election results are published.


The election committee will take self-nominations, nominations by others and can nominate people for election. The election committee will contact the nominated people and ask them whether they are willing to stand for election. These nominations are private until accepted by the nominated people.

Insufficient Nominations:

In the event that the number of eligible candidates is less than or equal to the number of vacant seats, the voting period will be delayed by two weeks. A public message will be sent out to ask again for candidates.

In the event that the number of eligible candidates is still less than or equal to the number of available seats, voting occurs as normal but each candidate needs to have more than 50 per cent yes votes to be elected.


In the event of a tie for the final seat(s) on the board, the election committee will schedule run-off elections between the tied candidates within one week, with a voting period of one week to resolve the tie.

In the event of a tie during the run-off elections, the newly elected board – or the previous board, if fewer than 50 per cent of the seats have been filled – will appoint candidates running in the run-off elections to fill the vacant seats.


Approximately half of the board is elected every year. This means that every year, the term of approximately half of the board ends, and the term of the other half ends the year after.

If there have been resignations or removals since the last elections, the term for the new board members will be adjusted if necessary to ensure that half of the elected board seats – that means at least two and no more than three out of five – will have to be filled during the next elections.

To implement this adjustment, the elected board members with the most votes will have a two years term, while the elected board members with the lowest votes will have a one year term. The number of seats with the lowest votes is calculated so that two of the board seats will have to be filled during the next election


The sitting board is allowed to appoint new members to fill a board vacancy caused by one of the following conditions: 1) resignation of a Board member or 2) the removal of a Board member, or 3) death of a Board member, or 4) as part of elections if not enough people are elected.

In the case that some seats do not get filled at an election, the new board will appoint board members as necessary until the next election.

Ad-hoc elections:

Instead of opting to appoint more than one board member, the board may opt to call for new board elections for the vacant seats. These board members will then be elected for the current election period and the next period – thus until 31st of December of the next year.

Eligibility and Validity

Eligible candidates:

Only openSUSE members may stand for election and be elected to the Board.

Election committee:

None of the Election Committee can run for or be elected as an openSUSE board member while serving on the Election Committee.

Eligible voters:

Only openSUSE members may vote.


Any person who has resigned from the Board or has been removed from the Board is not eligible for nomination or appointment for or during the next Board election period.


openSUSE board members can serve for up to two consecutive election periods. After that they must stand down for at least one election period, but may run again after the one election period break.

Appointed members:

Appointed board members are required to stand down and might seek election at the next election.

Company affiliation:

In the event that individuals affiliated with a company or organization hold more than 40 per cent of the elected or appointed seats, affiliates from that corporation will be required to resign until fewer than 40 per cent of elected or appointed seats are controlled by that company or organisation.

Individuals affiliated with a company or organization are people who are employees, officers, or members of the board of directors of an organization; or have a significant consulting relationship; or own at least 1 per cent of the equity or debt, or derivatives thereof, of a company.

Affiliation during election:

A candidate is not eligible to be voted onto the board if their election would mean that a company or organization hold more than 40 per cent of the elected or appointed seats. In this case their election and these votes are void.

Other Rules

Removal of Chairperson:

The elected board members can appeal to Novell to have the chairperson replaced.


A member of the board may resign their current position by giving written notice to the chairperson. The board should appoint a new board member or call elections to fill the vacancy.


In the event of repeated absence without contact, or other serious misconduct or negligence, a Board member may be subject to removal. Before any other process occurs, the Board member in question will be personally contacted by the chairperson to try to resolve the situation. If this contact does not successfully resolve the situation, the Board member in question may be removed by a vote of 2/3s of the other board members. The board should appoint a new board member or call elections to fill the vacancy.

Repeated absence includes missing three consecutive board meetings without sending regrets, not answering emails on the board mailing list for more than a month, or missing more than 10 meetings.

Forced re-election:

If 20 per cent or more of the openSUSE members require a new board, an election will be held for the complete elected Board seats.


Changes by the election rules can be made by vote of the board where 2/3s or more approve it including the chairperson or by vote of the membership where 2/3 or more of the openSUSE members participating in the vote approve it.

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