Voting 101: UNY members use handheld keypads for delegate elections
Practice makes perfect.
Members at the 2015 Upper New York Annual Conference session on Wednesday took their first ballot in the early afternoon, voting separately for laity and clergy delegates for the General and Northeastern Jurisdictional conferences in 2016.
And on the first ballot, the laity had a successful election, casting 479 ballots of which Dr. Scott Johnson garnered 269 votes; 239 were needed to elect.
The full session had two practice ballots in the early afternoon; the clergy had an election with the keypads during the morning’s clergy session. The first practice ballot was a “yes” or “no” response to whether a member was attending a session for the first time. The second ballot was asked voters which hymns they liked best: "How great thou art," "I love to hear the story," "Amazing Grace," and "Standing on the Promises." (In case you are keeping score, "Amazing Grace," was the top choice with 383 votes; "I love to hear the story" came in last with 105 votes.)
Since all clergy that wanted to be eligible for voting were catalogued in a sheet prior to the session, they were given a four-digit number to enable their peers to vote for them. Laity were handled the same way, however, eligible clergy could also be added to that list by write-in, explained by a representative from Option Technologies, the company providing the electronic balloting devices.
Following the announcement of Johnson’s election, Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb gave the results of the clergy vote, to much less fanfare. There were 314 valid ballots cast from among 379 total voters.
“Some tried to stuff the ballot box and the system catches that,” Bishop Webb said, “you can’t vote for one person more than once.”
Bishop Webb then called for the next round of election and announced that the preparatory prayer would be given by a pre-recorded video from Baltimore-Washington Area Resident Bishop Marcus Matthews, Upper New York’s immediate prior resident bishop.
“Thanks to you, loving God, for all the persons assembled in this assembly hall. Thanks to you for the way you have blessed the Upper New York Annual Conference, a Conference living out your gospel, not only in your congregations but in the communities in which we are part,” he said. “As we prepare to elect delegates for the General and Jurisdictional conferences, we simply ask that You bless these persons who have offered themselves to be elected.”