Which National Standards Bodies can vote regarding OpenXML/OOXML/DIS 29500?

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I’ve gotten several emails about some confusion in national standards bodies about their eligibility to vote on OOXML for the JTC1 Fast Track ballot. They’ve been told several incorrect things by parties who will remain nameless along the lines of “you can’t vote” or “the way you voted in the Contradiction Period influences how you can vote now.” These are both false. I hope I’m just hearing about confusion and not outright deception.

There are 157 countries who collectively form the ISO and IEC voting members. They can vote and they can vote YES, NO, or ABSTAIN. Although they might be represented in each of the ISO and IEC, a country only gets one vote. The smallest country gets the same one vote as does the largest. ISO/IEC JTC1 P-Members have an obligation to vote, whereas the others can vote, but they have no obligation. This spec was built outside the ISO or IEC, is being Fast Tracked, and so WTO rules allow all countries to vote.

I’m told that the way to get all the details is to have your official country representative pull up the electronic ISO DIS 29500 ballot via “livelink” and all will be explained there.

Also See: An “OOXML is a bad idea” blog entry compendium


  1. Hello Robert

    Would you explain ( i’m not a NB member and don’t have access to livelink ) what says the ISO rules about the minimum of YES votes and maximum NO votes percentage required to approve the OOXML fast-track ballot ? (*)

    And another question: the denominator of this *percentage* includes the ABSTAIN votes?

    Thank you !

    (*) note: i have read some post about this but still don’t understand it completely


  2. Bob,

    Chapter and Verse for this process can be found in the JTC 1 directives. You can find these at http://preview.tinyurl.com/2jznf5.

    Section 13.3 of the directives describes the ballot process as “combined … voting”, which itself is defined (section 9.5) as “the voting procedure which uses simultaneous voting (one vote per country) by the P-members fo[r] JTC 1 and by all ISO member bodies and IEC national committees.” AIUI this is around 150 countries.

    Section 9.6 then defines hows the outcome of the vote is judged. In a nutshell, two-thirds of the P-members must have voted in approval, and no more than one-quarter of the total votes can be negative.

    – Alex.

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