This site explains the Voting Rules that apply, according to the ISO/IEC Directives.

  • DIS time line
  • DIS Vote; what do the ISO/IEC-Directives say?
  • Who has voting rights?
  • DIS Vote; some examples
  • Populations and societies
  • A key question (on the one-country-one-vote process for society-related standards)
  • Additional document describing the voting and how to report on a substantial opposition, if any.

DIS time line

  • Based on the CD and the various comments received the IDTF (Integrated Drafting Task Force) prepared the text for the DIS; this draft was checked by the Editing Committee in regard of correct language use, not in regard of content.
  • The DIS was released for comment and vote by 14 September 2009; according to the ISO/IEC Directives the voting period is 5 (five) months, so that the deadline is 14 February 2010

DIS Vote, what do the ISO/IEC Directives say?

The ISO/IEC Directives say in section 2.6.3

“An enquiry draft is approved if
a) a two-thirds majority of the votes cast by the P-members of the technical committee or subcommittee are in favour, and
b) not more than one-quarter of the total number of votes cast are negative.

Abstentions are excluded when the votes are counted, as well as negative votes not accompanied by technical reasons.”

The understanding is that

  • P-members are the participating members of WG SR, not observing members
  • Technical committee or subcommittee is the WG SR
  • Total number of votes are the votes of ISO member bodies with voting rights, that are max. 106 (September 2009) , because “corresponding members” and “subscriber members” don’t have voting rights.

Thus the votes of P-members of WG SR are relevant for both counts.

The understanding is further that the and between a) and b) is a logical AND, that means that both a) and b) need to be fulfilled to get an approval of the DIS.

In other words: if one of the conditions a) or b) is not met, the DIS is not approved. In this case the DIS would have to be redrafted according to the received comments.

Who has voting rights?

In September ISO has 162 members. Three types of membership exist: Members, correspondent members, and subscriber members.

One finds at DISCOVER ISO:

  • Full members, known as member bodies, each have one vote, whatever the size or strength of the economy of the country concerned.
  • Correspondent members pay reduced membership fees. They are entitled to participate in any policy or technical body as observers, with no voting rights.
  • Subscriber members also pay reduced membership fees. They are institutes from countries with very small economies that nevertheless wish to maintain contact with international standardization.

In consequence only member bodies can vote; that’s currently 106 countries
(see file ‘ISO members and voting rights, 2009-10’).

Can this number change during the 5-months voting period? Yes, e.g. in case a correspondent member gets full membership.

DIS Vote; some examples

Example 1, country vote:

106 may vote, 6 keep silent and 10 vote ‘abstention’, so that 90 votes count. More than 75% need to be in favor to get the DIS approved, that’s 67,5 votes, but since half votes are not possible, that’s 68 votes in favor.
Conclusion: 68 votes are in favor, the DIS is approved, regardless of the P-members’ vote; if only 67 votes were in favor, the DIS would not be approved, unless the P-members would disapprove it.

Example 2, country vote:

106 may vote and 106 do so, with no abstentions. Not more than 25% may vote against in order to avoid the DIS getting disapproved, that’s 26,5 votes, but since half votes are not possible, that’s 27 votes against.
Conclusion: 28 negative votes would cause a disapproval of the DIS, regardless of the P-members’ vote.

Example 3, country and P-member vote:

106 countries vote, 6 by abstention, so the votes cast are 100. More than 75% votes in favor are needed to get approval. 77 ISO member bodies vote in favor: the country vote would thus approve the DIS.

82 countries (this figure may change) are working as P-members in the WG SR. If more than two thirds (that’s 55) would be in favor, the DIS would be approved. Only 54 vote in favor, so this part of the approval conditions fails.

Result: the DIS would have been disapproved, since both the P-members’ vote and the countries’ vote must meet their criteria.

Populations and societies

It seems worth spending some thoughts on voting rights and how far they can reflect the differences and diversities of societies. While this would be an interesting study for a Phd candidate, as a first approximation –ever so rough- is (for details see file ‘ISO members and voting rights, 2009-10’):

Question Answer
How many people live on earth? 6,8 billions
How many live in the 162 ISO member countries? 6,3 billions
How many live in the 106 countries where ISO member have voting rights? 5,9 billions
How many percent of the world’s population are covered by the 106 countries? 86%, a remarkable coverage
How many percent of the population of those 106 countries are covered by the top ten countries? See sheet 2 of the above mentioned file. The top ten have 3,8 billion inhabitants.

That’s 64% of the 106 countries’ 5,9 billions; so, the rest of 96 countries share 36%.

A key question:

Is a one-country-one-vote approach reasonable for voting on society-related standards?

This key question gets a further dimension if one takes into account the number of diverse societies living in the top ten countries (see this Excel file). To exemplify a bit: China and Saint Lucia are the biggest and the smallest among the 106; China has 1,3145 billion and Saint Lucia has 0,000164 billion people. Saint Lucia’s vote may reflect 1 society while China reflects some 75 societies, each one of them dimensions bigger than Saint Lucia.

Taken from the source where it reads:

In German: “Es gibt ungefähr 55 anerkannte ethnische Minderheiten und ungefähr 15 bis 20 nicht offiziell anerkannte Gruppen,…“
In English: „There are some 55 officially recognized ethnical minorities and another 15 to 20 not officially recognized groups,…“

Another source: . Here the 56 officially recognized ethnical groups within China are listed, with an estimate of population.

To answer the key question:

It can be doubted whether a one-country-one-vote process can reflect reality of societal diversities and society related standards.

There is an additional document (downloadable here) available that you may find useful. It describes

  • The ISO/IEC Directives, section 2.6, which addresses the DIS voting and how this is to understand in the case of WG SR, and
  • Reproduces from N131 rev1 “Operating procedures….” the guidance on how to handle comments and votes at national level, and how to report –with the vote- on a stakeholder group’s substantive opposition, if any.
Scroll to Top