Friday, October 31, 2008
One Voice-One Vote
I must admit I am getting quite jaded about the way that votes are counted in our nation, or even in our Church. I used to take great pride in the voting process of both our nation and the Episcopal Church. But after the fiascos of the last 2 presidential elections, the Florida Flimflam and the Ohio robbery, I get very unsure of the whole process.
We spend a great deal of money to have an election. There has been one relief in the unrelenting TV campaign ads in the national quadrennial affair: The campaign humor has been the best that I can remember! I have gotten u-tubes that have seen that have had me guffawing! Too bad there is so much at stake.
I will go and vote and exercise what I believe is my citizen’s duty. But I am not sure where the votes are going. I don’t know who is going to count them and whether my vote is going to be counted the way I have voted. I just have to have faith that my vote is going to go to the right person.
The same feeling arises when we vote in Diocesan elections any more. For the past few years, we have been using the single transferable ballot. We no longer have a single vote for a single candidate. We vote for our highest candidate and then second highest and so forth. The purpose is to save time. But democracy takes time. It takes time to know who the candidates are, what is their specific reason for running for office, and why I want to vote for them. The least we can do is count and report the votes for them.
The problem comes when we want to know the will of the Convention. There is no way now with a single transferable ballot that we can get the mind of the Body of Christ. All we get told is who won. We have no knowledge if there was a wide margin; we have no way of knowing if this is a close election or a landslide. And the way that a single transferable ballot gets tallied is anybody’s guess.
Am I accusing anyone of malfeasance? Not at all! I am just saying that we as a people have gotten away from good old fashioned democratic methods of One Voice-One Vote in our diocesan government. We are throwing away a very important charism of our Episcopal Church just as we are throwing away much of the liberty in our nation by choosing to “streamline” our voting process.