The members of the foundation elect the board; typically this happens close to the annual member's meeting.

The foundation uses a modern, if confusing, vote counting scheme that is designed to help assure that small coherent constituencies can get a seat on the board. The vote counting design helps to enable members to reveal their actual desires while at the same time getting engaging in more strategic benefits of voting so that your vote will count.

Let's start with a point about strategic voting. Strategic voting is the name for votes that don't reveal your actual preference but instead make a calculated choice to get the maximum benefit out of your vote. Image there are three candidates A, B, and C. You hate C; you love A; you think B's ok. In the absence of strategic voting you'd vote for A. But say you know that polling data shows that B and C are neck and neck in the race and A seems sure to loose. Strategic voters then vote for B.

Our vote counting technique helps solve that problem. You vote for A, B, C in that order. Should it then becomes clear he won't win your vote will be reallocated; presumably to B. (Actually given that you hate C you probably shouldn't vote for him at all.)

The scheme we use gives voters more power over the election. It is important not to waste that power. We have observed in the past that members don't understand the power the mechanism give them.

When you vote you will reveal your rank ordered preference for candidates. Every effort is made to get your #1 preference onto the board. If you vote in alphabetical order your sending a strong signal that you'd prefer a board with names like Mr. Awful, and Ms. Beastly.

The vote counting proceeds in a loop. Occasionally the loop spits out another board member. It spits out an elected board member when ever that board member captures enough ballots to get elected. Ballots begin assigned to the #1 candidate indicated on that ballot. As the counting proceeds ballots are reallocated. Sometimes it becomes necessary to admit somebody not going to get elected; at that point his ballots are reallocated. When a candidate is elected he takes with him only enough ballots to have gotten him elected; his other ballots are sent off the the lower ranked preferences shown on that ballot.

This means that you can vote for Mr. Marginal and if he gets enough votes he's in; if not your #2, #3, preference will get used.

This means you can vote for Mr. Wonderful along with everybody else and after he's elected there is a reasonable chance your ballot will live on to help elect a candidate other than your first preference.

This voting architecture is excellent for helping to break up the tendency of elected bodies to settle into one or two power blocks; at it's also helpful for breaking up the power of incumbents to attract strategic voters. It's down side is that you can end up with a board with nine members all of whom where elected by very narrow constituencies to which they are extremely loyal - that can make it hard to reach any consensus.