AIP: Changes to the Constitution and the Security Council Election Process

Constitutional

Abstract

This Constitutional AIP proposes improvements to the ArbitrumDAO Constitution and the Security Council election process, which include:

  • Candidates are given a week to apply for a Security Council position before the nominee selection stage takes place.
  • Candidates need to sign a transaction from their EOA (Externally Owned Account) to apply for a Security Council position.
  • The ArbitrumDAO Constitution is updated to reflect these changes as well as correct previous mistakes in wording with regard to timing and quorum.

Motivation

This AIP aims to improve the election process ensuring that candidates are not overlooked during the nominee selection stage and that candidates stand an equal chance of being nominated to the following stage of the election process, irrespective of when in the registration period they express their interest. It also updates the system so contenders must provide a signed message before running in the elections - this ensures they are able to produce signed messages for the different chains that the Security Council needs the ability to act on.

Issues with the current Security Council election process:

  • In the nominee Selection stage, because contender registration and endorsement occur in the same 7-day period, delegates are likely to overlook applications that are submitted at the end of the period. This results in candidates who submit their applications at the start of the period having an unfair advantage, as they are more likely to be endorsed and therefore progress to the next stage.

  • Candidates might sign up to the elections using an on-chain smart contract wallet which is not able to produce signatures valid for other ArbitrumDAO-governed chains.

  • The constitution does not clearly express the election procedure.

Specifications

Accordingly, this AIP aims to implement the following changes:

  1. A 7-day ‘Contender Submission’ stage before the ‘Nominee Selection’ stage. Accordingly, the duration of the entire election process will increase from 42 days to 49 days.
  2. For candidates to apply for a Security Council position, they are required to provide a signed message from their wallet.
  3. The wording on the ArbitrumDAO Constitution is updated to correctly reflect how quorum for proposals (as well as the election process) is handled, which should also take into account ‘abstain’ votes.
  4. The wording on the ArbitrumDAO Constitution is updated to reflect the new format of the Security Council elections.

The code representing the proposed changes is final and available for full review in: https://github.com/ArbitrumFoundation/governance/pull/231 and https://github.com/ArbitrumFoundation/docs/pull/731

The Governance Action contract was deployed and is available for review in NomineeGovernorV2UpgradeAction | Address 0xd9a2e0e5d7509f0bf1b2d33884f8c1b4d4490879 | Arbiscan

16 Likes

The work has been audited by Trail of Bits, the full audit report is available below
Trail of Bits - Arbitrum Upgrades - Summary Report - Public.pdf (576.7 KB)

The proposal calldata is available in add SC improvement AIP proposal calldata by DZGoldman · Pull Request #251 · ArbitrumFoundation/governance · GitHub

A simulation can be run using the code from add sc election improvement sim by DZGoldman · Pull Request #23 · ArbitrumFoundation/governance-seatbelt · GitHub

2 Likes

These changes have been brought to a temp check on Snapshot.

1 Like

I definitely think that the Security Council elections need some revision, and this proposal seems to be heading in the right direction. Any thoughts on maybe pushing for shielded voting? I feel like having private votes on these types of elections might make sense since we don’t want people’s votes being influenced by what others decide, but I wanted to see if anyone else had a perspective on this.

2 Likes

The current election system is designed to take into account the unshielded nature of votes.
It is important that you know the current running amount of votes since particular thresholds elect different individuals and allow delegates to strategically use their vote.

That said, the wider overall election system would need to be thought through instead of just adding shielded voting to the current system.

On a separate note, current systems that allow for zero knowledge / shielded voting haven’t been deployed in production at scale yet - adopting early constructions that haven’t been battle tested could put the community at risk.
A16Z Crypto made a blogpost on Cicada but that for example only offers running ballot privacy, not individual voter privacy.

The security council elections are critical for the security of the Arbitrum ecosystem, and the systems used for it should be considered by the community carefully.

2 Likes

We’ve used shielded voting on the DAO on snapshot (shutter) - so voting is only shielded during the election phase, allowing everyone to know how delegates voted once the elections are over and I think it worked well, but I understand it would be harder to implement this fully onchain + we shouldn’t do something like the security council election offchain. I just think it’s the type of election where, ideally, people should vote on who they actually think is best - so a combination of ranked-choice voting + shielded voting would be interesting, but again, I understand the current limitations plus implications it would have on the current process.

2 Likes

After consideration and review, I will be voting “For” on this AIP. I believe all the changes listed are reasonable and I appreciate the willingness to revisit past elections to continually improve the process.

That said, I do want to bring one suggestion to consideration to be added. I brought this up as part of my post about Non-Security Elections, but I think if possible this election should have results hidden until the election is completed. Without hiding results until completion, delegates are incentivized to delay and / or change their votes up to the final minutes of voting. This unfairly benefits candidates who gain early support, as delegate voting behavior may change based on who is winning at that moment and this can materially winner / loser results. It will also not give true indication of support for lesser candidates who then may not feel it’s viable to run for future positions.

2 Likes

The current election system is designed to take into account the unshielded nature of votes.
It is important that you know the current running amount of votes since particular thresholds elect different individuals and allow delegates to strategically use their vote.

I posted about shielded voting but then caught this after I did… but to respond directly. I disagree with this statement. Not shielding the voting unfairly benefits individuals who get early support, as their initial votes put them towards the top of the list right away and can snowball into broader support that may otherwise not been there. This puts an element of gamesmanship to delegate voting, where supporters can vote early for their favorite candidate to get them into the upper thresholds. Or alternatively they can wait until the very end where they know exactly how their vote will affect the election.

I’ll add, I also think this harms future council elections as results may not fully indicate a losing candidates true support. Resulting in them not running next time when they may be closer to election then they think.

It’s unfortunate we do not have a better solution for this with on-chain voting, I’m hoping maybe this discussion can spark outreach to Tally on how something like this can be accomplished.

3 Likes

I am excited to announce that Tally will fully support the changes to the Security Council Election process proposed in this AIP. In particular, candidates will be able to apply for a Security Council position on Tally a week prior to the start date of the nominee selection stage.

Tally is honored to support onchain governance in the Arbitrum DAO, powering chain upgrades, treasury spend, and security council elections. Thank you for supporting our work. We can’t wait for you to use Tally to participate in the next Arbitrum Security Council Election!

6 Likes

I’d be happy to chat sometime about possible paths towards supporting onchain shielded voting.

3 Likes

Curia will vote for the proposed changes to the ArbitrumDAO Constitution and Security Council election process. Our support is based on the belief that these amendments will enhance the election system’s fairness and clarity, particularly by introducing a structured timeline for candidate submissions and ensuring candidate authenticity through wallet signature requirements.

+1 to @cattin’s push for shielded voting. Honestly, shielded voting should be used whenever possible, the bias of real time results is real.

But that is a separate issue, the current improvements all look great to me
chuck noris

3 Likes

The below response reflects the views of L2BEAT’s governance team, composed of @krst and @Sinkas, and it’s based on the combined research, fact-checking and ideation of the two.

After reviewing the proposed changes, we’ll be voting in favour of the proposal during temp-check as we agree with and support them. We would also like to express our support to @cattin idea of introducing shielded voting, especially in this election, we think this should be discussed further.

One point we want to bring up however is that there is currently another proposal (the Security Council Improvements Proposal which we authored) that seeks to, among other things, make changes to the constitution as pointed out by @fred.

Perhaps it’s prudent to somehow combine the proposal for the on-chain vote to avoid having people vote twice for seemingly the same thing, which is changes to the constitution.

3 Likes

After consideration Treasure’s Arbitrum Representative Council (ARC) would like to share the following feedback on the proposal.

We are supportive of the proposed changes to the Security Council Election process and believe the changes detailed here represent a net positive benefit to the DAO. As other have suggested, we remain receptive to further investigations into alternative mechanisms aimed at enhancing the fairness and efficacy of all election procedures within the DAO for both Security Council and non-Security Council elections.

This has been published to Tally: Tally | Arbitrum Proposal

Based on Passing on Snapshot: Snapshot

tldr; post down to L1 mainnet, updating back up to Arbitrum One, ultimate updated implementations can be found
0xd9a2e0e5d7509f0bf1b2d33884f8c1b4d4490879

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1 Like

Michigan Blockchain is voting for this proposal. We believe it is fair to introduce a nominee selection stage, as it removes an unfair advantage given to those who submit applications to the Security Council earlier. This way, we can avoid having situations like having 10 candidates for the Security Council one day and 50 candidates the next. In addition to that, it also gives more time for candidates to finalize their applications, as it removes any pressure to submit applications early.

Voting yes.

makes total sense to have a more levelled play field for all candidates in term of exposure to all other stakeholders, especially in a selection process as important as the one of the security council.

Voting in favor.

Changes make elections fairer by giving everyone enough time to apply and review the candidates.

Also +1 on shielded voting.

I am voting in favor of this proposal. I think the dedicated week for candidates to apply will make the Security Council Election process more fair, competitive, and accessible.

The Savvy DeFi DAO’s Arbitrum Council has voted in favor of this proposal

The introduction of shielded voting adds integrity. Additionally, a dedicated week for candidates to apply makes the process fairer, more competitive, and accessible, eliminating unfair advantages and providing more time for application finalization.

Overall, these changes enhance the democratic nature of the Security Council elections, making them more equitable and transparent.