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Kubernetes Steering Committee Elections

This document outlines the process for steering committee elections.

For the current election, check the Steering Elections directory

Eligibility for voting

Precise eligibility for voting in the current Election is defined in the current year's voter guide

Eligibility to vote for steering committee members is generally defined by:

  • Kubernetes Org Members who had at least a certain number of contributions to the Kubernetes project over the past year, according to a data snapshot taken shortly before the election starts, based on the devstats developer activity counts dashboard. Contributions include GitHub events like creating issues, creating PRs, reviewing PRs, commenting on issues, etc. For full details see the SQL query used by devstats for developer activity counts.

  • Members of certain committees that involve substantial contributions to Kubernetes that are frequently not recorded by DevStats, such as the Security Response Committee and the Code of Conduct Committee.

  • People who have submitted the voting exception form and are accepted by the election committee. We explicitly believe the above heuristic will be inaccurate and not represent the entire community. Thus we provide the form for those who have contributed to the project but may not meet the above criteria. Acceptance of a form submission will be defined by a simple majority vote, and the criteria used during this process will be used to help refine further elections.

It is the responsibility of the steering committee to refine these criteria prior to each election, including setting the number of required contributions, and adding any additional committee memberships that include eligibility.

Eligibility for candidacy

Eligibility for candidacy is defined by:

  • Acceptance of a nomination, or self-nomination (anyone may nominate, anyone may be nominated)
  • Endorsement by three eligible voters from three different employers (the candidate can self-endorse if they are eligible to vote)

Check the current election Voters Guide for the exact nomination procedure.

Nominators are free to nominate as many people as they wish to. Eligible voters may endorse multiple nominees, but we expect endorsements to be in good faith. If this turns out to be a problem, this will be reconsidered.

Election process

Elections will be held using an online preference election system which supports Condorcet elections. The most preferred candidates will be elected to the open seats.

Maximal representation

To encourage diversity there will be a maximum of one-third representation on the Steering Committee from any one company at any time. If the results of an election result in greater than 1/3 representation, the lowest vote getters from any particular company will be removed until representation on the committee is less than one-third.

If percentages shift because of job changes, acquisitions, or other events, sufficient members of the committee must resign until max one-third representation is achieved. If it is impossible to find sufficient members to resign, the entire company’s representation will be removed and new special elections held. In the event of a question of company membership (for example evaluating independence of corporate subsidiaries) a majority of all non-involved Steering Committee members will decide.

Terms and Election Cycles

Steering committee members are elected to serve one, two year term. Members can serve two consecutive terms (4 years) and a lifetime of four terms (8 years). Bootstrap and terms that result in equal to or less than one year served are exempt.

Election cycles are scheduled such that roughly half of the seats come up for re-election each year for purposes of continuity. The exact number of seats alternates between 3 and 4, with the first 3-seat election taking place in 2018.

Emeritus Term

Members of the steering committee will graduate to becoming Emeritus members of the steering committee upon vacating their seat. This confers honor on the recipient, acknowledging the significant contributions they have made to the project. Emeritus members have no binding vote, and no expectation of continued participation in steering committee affairs.

Election schedule and operation

The steering committee picks election officers to operate the election and circulate a timeline for nominations, and the vote. The steering committee should consider the following rough schedule:

  • End of July
    • Election officers
    • Voter eligibility criteria
    • Election preparation
  • September
    • Nomination period and election
  • October
    • Conclusion of Election
    • Results announced at first community meeting after the election concludes

The election officers will choose exact dates for each step and propose the final schedule to steering per the election procedure.

Election officer selection

The steering committee should choose three election officers, ideally by the following criteria, so as to promote healthy rotation and diversity:

  • election officers must be eligible to vote
  • election officers should have been an org member for at least one year
  • at least one (ideally two) election officers should have served before
  • at least one election officer should have never served before
  • each officer should come from a different company to maintain 1/3 maximal representation

Election officers follow the election procedure to administer the election.

History of election officers:
2017: castrojo and parispittman
2018: castrojo, parispittman, idvoretskyi
2019: mrbobbytables, castrojo, idvoretskyi
2020: jberkus, jdumars, idvoretskyi
2021: jberkus, alisondy, coderanger
2022: coderanger, kaslin, dims
2023: kaslin, dims, bridgetkromhout


See Steering Committee charter.

Limiting Corporate Campaigning

To reduce size of company advantages, candidates may not use their companies internal or external brand to campaign. Their employers cannot solicit votes on their behalf or endorse candidates from partner organizations. Simply put, elections highlight individuals outside of their corporate role and should be treated as “brand free” activities.

Steering Committee and Election Officer Recusal

Currently serving steering committee members and the appointed election officers pledge to recuse themselves from any form of electioneering, including campaigning, nominating, or endorsing. We would prefer that the community decide without our heavy influence.

Steering committee members may ask other contributors to consider running, and they may vote, so long as this information is kept private.

Steering committee members who intend to run for re-election may self-nominate but are otherwise expected to adhere to this recusal.