[RFC] Clarifications on Snapshot Vote Handling


Following on from [BIP-163] Restructure Governance Process - Disband Governance Council, which laid out a clear process for all sages of governance. Things are shifting with the structure of Balancer Governance. This BIP seeks to clarify and ratify changes already made as well as some other details that have so far been a matter of precedence.

This RFC should move to snapshot and assumes the passage of: BIP-300 and the AIP resulting from this AURA Temperature Check. Everything but the specification is just a recap of the current state and not a specified change.

These changes are being made to try to increase the number of active and substantial and delegates in the Balancer Ecosystem in order to further decentralization of the Protocol and Ecosystem.

Structure of Snapshots

  • Going forward, and baring clear community consensus otherwise, all Snapshots shall be posted as Weighted Voting with Options [Yes, let's do it, No, this is not the way, and Abstain] being offered.
  • Quorum will be calculated by adding up the total number of Yes and No votes
  • Voters will be able to collect both veBAL and vlAURA delegations for non-gauge weight voting.
    • Voters will have to vote on both snapshots should they have delegations from both protocols.
  • Each vlAURA vote will count towards the final veBAL vote at the value of [Total veBAL in auraBAL]/[number voting vlAURA].
  • The other currently whitelisted wrappers: TetuBAL, sdBAL, and yBAL to not offer passthrough voting on non-gauge weight votes, but would have access to similar dynamics should they choose to do so.

Why is this a BIP

In the past Abstain votes were counted towards the quorum. With large wrappers like AURA always voting in a split form, and holding far over 2 Million veBAL, there is no condition where the quorum would not be met on a snapshot. This fixes that, by allowing wrapper voters to really abstain and not add to the Quorum by voting as such.

Should there be a strong desire from voters to push Quorum without a directional vote, further adaptations can be made.


Going forward the votes counted towards Quorum will be determined by adding the total number of Yes, let's do it and No, this is not the way votes after conclusion of snapshot. Abstain votes will be ignored in Quorum calculations.

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If Abstain doesn’t count towards quorum, it’s unclear to me why it’s necessary as a voting option.


Agree with @franklin’s comment. Abstentions traditionally count when it comes to determining if a quorum has been satisfied.

RE: the above, in addition to the “Abstain” option (assuming it has meaning), we may want to change the voting options a bit to something like, (1) “Yes, let’s do it” and “No, this is not the way,” or (2) option voting for different results, similar to what we saw with BIP-161 (Close the Year 2 Funding Gap - Options A, B, and C along with “More discussion is needed”) and BIP-57b (2% v.5% Gauge Framework cap options).

If a change like this is made, the second bullet of the structure would have to also be adjusted accordingly.

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Let’s say that I am a vlAURA voter, and I want to not vote for something. If I don’t vote on the Aura snapshot, then my votes are just lumped in with everyone else.

If I explicitly wish to note vote for for a matter, I can indicate that by choosing abstain. Then those votes will not be counted towards Quorum.

Make sense?

Are you looking to add 4 options? I don’t think this needs to be so complicated, but if there are voters who also wish to abstain and help Quorum, but not vote in a direction we can deal with it. The foundation members said it was fine and they can just stay out of the things they shouldn’t take a position on.

The 3 current options are dictated by [BIP-163] Restructure Governance Process - Disband Governance Council

If Abstain has no meaning on a BIP, then imo, it shouldn’t be included as an option. We wouldn’t include Maybe, Maybe Yes, Maybe No, as options on a BIP, for example, and say, these options have no meaning, and don’t count towards quorum. If a voting choice has no meaning on a BIP, then it shouldn’t be included as an option, therefore, it wouldn’t be reflected on Aura’s side. So we would have no Abstain option to allocate votes to. Each voting option should have a purpose.

Putting aside the abstention issue for the moment, for the sake of clarity and consistency between this BIP and BIP-163, I would just incorporate the current 3 options referenced in BIP-163 [+ abstain if it goes that way] into the “Structure of Snapshots” part of this post, so the first bullet would read:

  • Going forward, all Snapshot votes shall be posted as Weighted Voting with Options consistent with BIP-163 [+ abstain if this is modified]

And just so we are clear, my use of brackets is to indicate that the text between the brackets isn’t included in the current proposed language, unless this BIP winds up being changed to incorporate abstentions for quorum purposes in the future.

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Abstain means that you do not want your share of the vote to be used to count towards quorum nor that you want to vote in any direction. This makes it possible to indicate as such.

BIP-163 already has Abstain in it. It was just not clear how Abstain was handled, and precident so far has been to count it towards the quorum. This BIP changes that. Am I missing something?

If the Aura Delegate(s) wants the ability to abstain but push quorum we can figure that out by adding a 4th option.

Yes, let's do it.
No, this is not the way.
Abstain - with quorum support
Abstain - without quorum support

It just seems quite complex. We want to make governance accessible and understandable and transparent.

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Apologies - I didn’t reread the whole thing today. It’s a great proposal but is a lot of text. :sweat_smile: I still recommend incorporating BIP-163 by reference for the sake of consistency. If modifications are needed then they can be made by doing something like," The Options are set forth in BIP-163, except ‘xzy…’"

I agree. That’s why it seems odd to me to have abstain as an option without it counting towards quorum. That in and of itself is already confusing to me.

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You’re 100% correct. I added a reference to BIP-163 in the first sentence. I thought it was already there :sweat_smile:

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Would incorporate it here too. Otherwise, the question of whether there is flexibility to vote with other options besides yes, no, abstain, becomes confusing. Per BIP-163:

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The complexity arises when we change the meaning of Abstain.

Here’s the current system:

Yes (All votes are counted, and count towards quorum.)
No (All votes are counted and count towards quorum.)
Abstain (Non-Aura Delegate votes count and count towards quorum. Aura Delegate votes do not count and are disregarded for quorum.)

Here’s what the new Abstain would look like, under weighted voting:

Abstain v2 (All Aura votes, not just Aura Delegate votes, do not count and are disregarded for quorum.)

The difference is subtle–the byproduct of weighted voting. One person voting Abstain will now command a larger share of total Aura votes than if they had voted as an individual. If all Aura Abstain votes (not just Aura Delegate votes) are shoved into Abstain v2, what ends up happening is that you end up disenfranchising a greater portion of votes that otherwise should have been counted. IMO, it’s okay for votes to be amplified and counted, as that gives individuals a greater voice in governance, but it’s not okay for votes to be amplified, then disregarded, as that strips away governance authority, and removes it from a greater number than perhaps may have been intended.

Under the current system, we don’t encounter this issue. Abstain retains its regular, widely-understood meaning–votes count and count towards quorum. We’ve never had this issue before, but if necessary, current Abstain votes can be parsed for non-Aura Delegate votes, and Aura-Delegate votes, so all votes are meaningful. Aura Delegate has authority over its own votes by virtue of its delegations. It can choose for its own votes to be counted or not counted, but cannot disenfranchise others.

Moreover, let’s go back one step, to my original comment. If you have an option such as Abstain v2 where votes are not counted, then imo, it should not be included as an option on a BIP. All voting options on a BIP should have meaning, within the context of the originating BIP/originating proposer itself. It’s the reason why we don’t include Maybe, Maybe Not, as options on BIPs, then disregard the votes later. Currently, votes on every option, including Abstain, do count. If we introduce Abstain v2, it doesn’t seem like that is a meaningful option within the context of the original BIP, and therefore, should not be included. Vote here on this option for fun–your vote will not be counted. There’s no reason to include something like that when the BIP is examined in a non-Aura vacuum.

Aura BIPs are simply a mirror of Balancer BIPs. If an option on Balancer BIP is removed, then the Aura BIP does not have the optionality of adding a new Abstain with its own meaning, or tweaking For or Against to mean different things. The Balancer BIP is controlling, the Aura BIP is just a reflection. So, if a meaningless option is removed on Balancer’s side, Aura should not be able to dictate this option be added back into the BIP, especially, when combined with the analysis above, that option disenfranchises a portion of total Aura votes or perhaps confuses Balancer voters that may end up mistakenly selecting Abstain v2.

The simplest solution seems to be to stick with regular English meanings for For, Against, Abstain. All Aura votes are counted. All Abstain votes count towards quorum.


Ok. We can drop this for now.

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