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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Election results through Thursday’s lunch period

    May 28, 2015 / By Christian Vischi / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    With 24 hours of plenary session behind them, members at the 2015 Annual Conference session were less than one-sixth of the way toward electing 28 representatives needed for conferences in 2016.

    Three laity – Dr. Scott Johnson (elected on Wednesday), Greg Forrester, and Riley O’Flynn – and one clergy member – the Rev. Bill Allen – have been elected to date.

    The first six clergy and laity elected are delegates to the next General Conference session held May 10-20, 2016 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore.

    The next six clergy and laity elected are delegates to the Northeastern Jurisdictional (NEJ) Conference that will take place July 11-15, 2016 in Lancaster, Pa.; four alternates will also be elected – two clergy, two laity. The first two clergy and laity of the NEJ delegates will also serve as alternates to the General Conference session.

    Prior to the first ballot of the day, the Rev. Bill Gottschalk-Fielding, Conference Director of Connectional Ministries, made a motion to only show the top 72 clergy vote-getters on the screen along with their respective four-digit number.

    “The screen can only render 36 names at a time, so the 72 would limit us to two screens and would be a good way to capture the leading vote getters,” Rev. Gottschalk-Fielding offered.

    The Rev. Dick Barton, retired, opposed that motion, saying that “fundamentally what we are saying when we cut off is if there is a stalemate in the progress of finding the right person and someone surfaces a new name, that will never appear, and we will prevent the (movement of the) Holy Spirit (through) names bubbling up.”

    The Rev. Wilson Jones, pastor at the First UMC in Wyoming, N.Y., offered an amendment to Rev. Gottschalk-Fielding’s motion, suggesting instead of limiting the list to the top 72, cutting off the list at those who receive four votes or less.

    After two votes on the amendment the margin was still too close, so Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb began to call the tellers to be at the ready for a count before he caught himself, acknowledging that the handheld devices primarily used to elect delegates could be used to receive instant results.

    The amendment was approved.

    In balloting through Thursday’s lunch, the results are:

    Ballot #2

    Laity results: Of the 611 valid ballots cast, 307 were needed for election; there was no election

    Top vote-getters included Greg Forrester with 253 and Riley O’Flynn with 217; no others received more than 200 votes

    Clergy results: Of the 334 valid ballots cast (374 total were cast), 168 were needed for election; there was no election

    Top vote-getters included the Rev. Bill Allen (129), the Rev. John Martin (97), the Rev. Colleen Preuninger (93) and the Rev. Bill Mudge (91); no others received more than 90 votes

    Ballot #3

    Laity results: Of the 512 valid ballots cast (650 total were cast), 257 were needed for election; there were two laity elected: Greg Forrester (299) and Riley O’Flynn (268)

    Top vote-getters included Carmen Vianese (226) and Marthalyn Sweet (223); no others received more than 200 votes

    Clergy results: Of the 351 valid ballots cast (394 total were cast), 177 were needed for election; there was no election

    The top vote-getter was the Rev. William Allen (164), and four others received an excess of 100; no others received more than 100 votes

    Ballot #4

    Laity results: Of the 627 valid ballots cast (669 total were cast), 315 were needed for election; there was no election

    Top vote-getters included Carmen Vianese (289) and Marthalyn Sweet (258); no others received more than 200 votes

    Clergy results: Of the 355 valid ballots cast (398 total were cast), 179 were needed for election; the Rev. Bill Allen was elected

    Top vote-getters included the Rev. Bill Mudge (154), the Rev. Colleen Preuninger (150), the Rev. Thom White Wolf Fassett (140), and the Rev. John Martin (130); no others received more than 115 votes

    Why are there so many invalid ballots? A representative from Option Technologies – the company the Conference contracted to facilitate the electronic voting – said there are two ways a ballot can be considered “spoiled” or “invalid” for its system: a person votes for a candidate more than one time during a ballot or a person makes fewer selections than is required during a ballot.

    TAGGED / Annual Conference 2015


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."