It turns out that several hundred General Assembly delegates received voting cards without being counted in the final credentials report.
Youth sign a rainbow flag as delegates raise their voting cards at the UUA General Assembly, June 24, 2016. (© Nancy Pierce/UUA)
A few days after the 2016 General Assembly concluded, members of the advocacy group UUs for Justice in the Middle East noticed that the total number of delegates reported at GA was smaller than the number of delegates who voted on UUJME’s failed business resolution. It took a week to assemble representatives from several UUA staff groups and leadership roles to figure out what caused this discrepancy, as many of them had taken time off immediately after GA. But now we have an updated and revised final credentials report that resolves the disparity.
There were 1,716 delegates at the General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio, and 126 delegates participating offsite, according to the revised final credentials report. That total of 1,842 delegates, representing 562 congregations, is much more consistent with the number of delegates at recent General Assemblies (1,884 last year; 1,920 in 2014; 1,844 in 2013; 1,808 in 2012). The updated total registration number changed only slightly, from 3,788 onsite participants to 3,780 onsite participants. The total number of offsite participants remained unchanged, at 154.
The credentials report that the Rev. Rob Eller-Isaacs delivered during the final general session on June 26 said there were 1,088 onsite delegates and 120 offsite delegates. However, 1,421 delegates cast votes on UUJME’s business resolution, which had been introduced as a divestment resolution targeting corporations involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. The resolution failed to achieve the two-thirds majority it needed to pass.
UUA staff determined that a scanner failed to record approximately 600 of the voting card numbers as the cards were being distributed to credentialed delegates. All eligible delegates were given voting cards and the registration system successfully marked them present, but not all of their voting card numbers were added to the roster that generates the final delegate total.
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Christopher L. Walton is editor of UU World. He holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Utah and is a member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship.
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