I run a mongodb sharded cluster with 1 shard, 1 replica set (2 secondaries, 1 primary, 1 delayed slave).

Frequently, the following message appears in the logs:

[rsMgr] replSet total number of votes is even - add arbiter or give one member an extra vote

But why? The delayed slave is hidden and has a priority set to 0. Therefore, there should be 3 nodes voting.

Also, when I stepdown the primary for maintenance purposes for instance, the applications that query MongoDB are lightly interrupted. The cluster takes 5 to 10 seconds to find a new primary.



2 Answers 2


Hidden members can still vote - voting is independent of priority, delay and visibility. Hence you have 4 voting nodes, not 3.

I'd recommend an arbiter to bring things to 5 rather than manipulating votes, which is not recommended due to implications for write concerns and replication.

  • I don't find informations on these implications for write concerns and replication. Can you tell what I risk by manipulating votes?
    – Icu
    Jun 12, 2013 at 10:22
  • 2
    It depends on your implementation, but votes are involved when deciding where a write on your replica set has made it to. Take the w:majority concern for example - that makes sure a write hits the majority of nodes in your set (in your current example, that would be 3, but with one on delay it has to hit all current nodes). Hence, removing votes can have unintended consequences. Similar mechanisms are used in migrations (sharding). Basically I talked with the engineer that wrote the replication code fro MongoDB and her advice about changing votes was: "don't do it, it's messy" :)
    – Adam C
    Jun 12, 2013 at 11:28

The "hidden" member is a non-voting member. Thus, you have 2 votes (primary and secondary). Leave "priority" set to 0 on the current delayed slave, but remove the "hidden". Quickly.

  • Actually, I have 1 primary and 2 secondaries + 1 delayed slave = 3 votes. That's why I don't understand why I get this message
    – Icu
    Jun 11, 2013 at 8:51

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