Why Didn't All Delgates Vote?

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According to the official AME website, ame-church.com, there were 1,994 voting delegates at the 47th Quadrennial. I have just examined the ballots for 4 General Officer positions and discovered that there was less than 100% voter turnout for these elected positions. The first ballot results for Director of Church Growth & Development was 1,629 ballots cast or 81.6% of eligible voters. The first ballot results was lower for Secretary-Treasurer for Christian Education (1,548). The winner was declared on the second ballot and that total was just 1,481. The winner for the position of Editor of Christian Recorder wa declared on the 3rd Ballot and that number was just 1,521. The fact that voter turnout was not close to 100% for these positions signals the degree of non-importance many delegates placed on these elections. I'm confused. For all of the talk about the importance of voting why did some 400-500 delegates choose NOT to vote for these important positions? Is this the proper civic example we are setting for our youth when we choose NOT to exercise our ballot priviliges? If someone can share some insight about this electoral conundrum I would be appreciative. QED

-- Anonymous, July 19, 2004



I was present during the elections and this subject came up at the time the elections were being held. If I recall correctly the system allows between 30 and 45 seconds to make a choice. After that the polls were declared officially closed. The countdown of seconds appeared on the video screens.

Since the election of General Officers came first, many delegates did not understand that they could not ponder or delay their decision to make a choice. Those who did found that time ran out on them. They got the message as the election progressed. Also the Presiding Bishop called their attention to it.

-- Anonymous, July 20, 2004

Robert -

Thanks for the insight. Let me ask a follow up question. Were Gen Con delegates informed about the polling methods as you describe above and their electoral choices at their respective District level before they cast their ballots? If that is true I still don't quite understand why for say a position like Historiographer, where only two candidates were running, about 1,600 ballots were submitted out of a total of 1,994 eligible voters. I understand the point about procrastinators. My concern is with the possible number of no-shows who could have met the time requirement but chose otherwise not to vote. I suspcet the time constraints to vote reduced the amount of time typically reserved for 2nd ballot and 3rd ballot political horse trading. QED

-- Anonymous, July 20, 2004

Several of the delegates simply did not understand the balloting procedure. In one district I counted four seniors who needed personal assistance during every vote. there were districts who also members of their delegation missing during balloting times as well. I agree, we need to elect responsible, conscious individuals who will serve us well.

-- Anonymous, July 20, 2004

I admit that there were some delegates that didn't understand the voting procedure and/or were confused, but from what I could see, many delegates were not present at their stations ready to vote. Many were walking around, politicking and deal making. Now, I don't have such a big problem with the walking around, politicking, but I do have a problem with there being almost as many alternates as there were delegates, yet, alternates did not step in and vote when delegates were not at their stations ready to vote. Why should districts pay for delegates to attend the general conference, and then they aren't responsible enough or do not have the desire to vote. Yet, there are alternates waiting at bay, and then they aren't even allowed to vote, or they do not know to step up to the plate to vote. I am still quite confused. God bless.

-- Anonymous, July 20, 2004

The Tenth Episcopal District Delegation consisted of Delegates and Alternate Delegates as did most of the districts, I'm sure. Under these circumstances there is no excuse for as many as were missing or failed to vote. Perhaps they were only interested in the vote for bishop?

-- Anonymous, July 20, 2004

Bro. Bill, your point is well taken. Why should we (the districts) pay for delegates and alternates to attend GenCon if a significant number are not voting for important offices and legislation?

When can the alternates act? Anytime a delegate is not present or only in the event of illness or death of a delegate?

I s'pose part of the reason is similar to the reason that not all votes in Congress are 100%.

-- Anonymous, July 21, 2004

Alternates may step in the seat of the delegate at any point the delegate is not present. ie: restroom break, illness, committee meeting, etc.

-- Anonymous, July 22, 2004

The missing ballots would strongly suggest that both delegate and alternate were "MIA" (missing in action) when it was time to cast a vote. How can both be ABSENT simultaneously? I have no other logical conclusion than the sidebar conversations in the hotel lobbies, restaurants, etc. caused these ballots not to be cast in a timely manner. This implies voter apathy and I think that is totally unacceptable. Any delegate or alternate who did not cast a ballot for good reason (sickness or death) should refund their local church a percentage of thier travel expense. Please understand I'm not trying to be mean or cruel. In the real world, resource scarcity means we must make prudent decisions which impact on our collective well-being. Folks need to be held accountable for their irresponsible actions. QED

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2004

Bill: You are absolutely correct! With the number of alternates whose travel was also paid by the local church, there is no reason for not having a near 100% voter participation. If we were to require the candidates for office to receive, say 60% of the REGISTERED delegate votes to be elected, I believe there would be greater participation. Our delegates return and not one files a written report of his/her activities. I think that each Annual Conference should require each delegate and alternate delegate file a timely (First Session of the Annual Conference following the General Conference) written report to the Conference; with the provision that if this report is not filed, the delegate and/or alternate is inelgible for election as a delegate to the next General Conference. The report would have to be approved by a vote of the Annual Conference. Be Blessed

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2004

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