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New Rules for Changing Your Vote on OOXML
Wednesday, March 19 2008 @ 02:06 PM EDT

New rules for changing your vote on OOXML. Yup. Like we didn't expect that. I know you don't want your votes to end up ignored, so here's what I think you have to do by March 29, and I'll show you the exact wording on the SC 34 page after that:
1. they've added people you must email, and you must copy yourself, so just writing to Keith Brannon is no longer sufficient. You must add Maho Takahashi and Martine Gaillen as recipients of your email, and CC yourself.

2. you have to have a specific subject line on your email: "Modification to the vote on DIS 29500 - Country (National Body/e.g. JISC)"

3. you have to mention the name of the sender in the email.

4. they also say you must inform ITTF of your intention to change your vote in writing by March 29.

I don't know if that last means you have to do more than just email, or who exactly you'd write to if there is a separate requirement. We get to guess. I've written to ask. Here's the ITTF page, and because it lists the same names, I think that is what they mean, but I don't know. I'd suggest asking, if it isn't clear to you either, and if I get an answer, I'll post it here. If you have a lawyer, ask your lawyer, by all means. It's terrible that it's so unclear, but it is what it is. The problem with the Fast Track rules is that they are unclear both before votes *and* after.

Here's what the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 page says about it, and go by this, not by my guess as to what they mean:
* In regard to the September 2, 2007 JTC 1 ballot on the fast track DIS 29500 based on Ecma 376, the ballot resolution meeting (BRM) was held in the week of February 25-29, 2008 at the International Conference Centre Geneva Within 30 days after the BRM, national bodies voted in the 2 September ballot may change their vote from any of “approve”, “disapprove” or “abstain” to any of “approve”, “disapprove” or “abstain”. Any NB wishing to change its vote must inform ITTF of this intention in writing by 29th March, 2008.

  • Vote change shall be communicated by email addressed to Keith Brannon ( as well as Maho Takahashi (, Martine Gaillen ( and yourself on copy.

  • The following shall be indicated in the subject. "Modification to the vote on DIS 29500 - Country (National Body/e.g. JISC)"

  • The name of sender shall be mentioned in the email.

* In accordance with the JTC 1 Directives, the progress of the specification will depend on the revised status of all previously-received votes after the BRM.

Please see SC 34 N 932: Frequently Asked Questions regarding DIS-29500 Ballot Resolution Meeting for more details.

What does "in writing" mean? Is email enough? They don't say. However, if you go to the FAQ they link to, it says:

6.3 What is the mechanism for changing a vote?

Any NB wishing to change its vote must inform ITTF of this intention and confirm the intention in writing.

6.4 Why must countries inform ITTF and not JTC 1?

Because ITTF is responsible for administering the voting of NBs on FDISs and DISs.

What does that mean, that you must inform ITTF and confirm it in writing? Your guess is as good as mine. What I know for sure is that it's the right question.

If it was me, if I couldn't get a clear answer, I'd snail mail too to all the names, certified or registered mail. I'd set up my email to send me back a receipt, and I'd follow up. I'd also email the contact email for ITTF: and I'd snail mail them too. Here's their page with contact information. It's so sad that no one knows in advance precisely how things are supposed to go. It leaves you having to try every possible thing you can think of to make sure you get it right. Did NBs get notices of this change, I wonder?

As in all things legal, ask your lawyer what to do, and the final word is the page itself and the SC34/JT1 Directives rules.

Whatever they are this week.

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