A minor change was announced in the election process for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees last week. Meanwhile, with some new candidates added to the roster, it appears that the election will in fact be competitive, rather than simply a matter of approving two candidates for two positions.
The change in the process, announced last Wednesday by election official Bjarte Sørensen, is a technical matter with respect to eligibility to vote. Rather than requiring that voters have 400 total edits on all Wikimedia Foundation projects, the change means that voters must have at least 400 edits on the project from which they cast their vote.
The reason for this is that eligibility will be verified by the software program used for the Board of Trustees election. The program can check the number of edits for the account being used to cast the vote, as well as the date of its first edit (the voter must have been active for at least 90 days), but it cannot confirm that edits from other accounts belong to the same voter. As a result, this is the only way voter eligibility can be determined in the absence of some kind of universal login system that applies across all languages and projects, a feature the developers are still debating how to implement.
Until recently, it appeared that the election, which will choose two trustees for two-year terms (rather than the previous one-year term), might only have two candidates. Until Sunday, the only candidates who had signed up were Florence Nibart-Devouard, one of the current elected trustees, and Arno Lagrange, who had run in last year's election as well.
These two were finally joined by Francis Schonken, a Belgian architect who has been active in the project for about a year and mostly contributes to the English and Dutch Wikipedias. The remaining elected trustee, Angela Beesley, announced her candidacy on Sunday as well.
Although a week remains for new candidates to present themselves, the level of activity in this election seems to have declined from last year. The previous election featured a total of twelve candidates (even after several others withdrew), and the members of the community had also engaged the candidates in more discussion about election issues. It is not clear if the decreased activity is due to a lower level of community interest in Wikimedia Foundation issues, or simply due to a general expectation that the incumbents will be reelected, as some have suggested should happen.