Guidelines for Laity Elections 2015


2015 Lay Election General Information

At the 2015 North Georgia Annual Conference in Athens, June 16-19, 2015, the Lay Members will elect eleven (11) lay delegates to the 2016 General Conference. Further, Lay Members will also elect an additional eleven (11) lay delegates to the 2016 Southeast Jurisdictional Conference. Reserve lay delegates to General Conference will be those elected delegates and reserves to Jurisdictional Conference in order of election. Any person meeting the qualifications as provided in 2012 Book of Discipline, Paragraph 36 is eligible for election. The names of the 2015 registered lay candidates are listed on the North Georgia Conference web site ( under the Board of Laity. Each candidate has met the requirements of Discipline, Paragraph 36 and has successfully submitted the required information for registration as a candidate. The Lay Candidates’ maximum 300-word informational statement and photograph were provided by the individual candidate for your information and may be viewed and printed by downloading the PDF document from the website. The 2015 Lay Candidate Handbook will be published in the Annual Conference Handbook.  The Lay Candidate Handbook includes candidate numbers. To vote for one of these candidates you must vote using their candidate number listed in the handbook. If you desire to vote for a qualified person not registered as a candidate, you will be instructed on how to “write in” a candidate name. Bishop B. Michael Watson, presiding over the opening session, will instruct the laity on the balloting procedure prior to the first ballot.


Dates of General and Jurisdictional Conference

General Conference will be held in Portland, Oregon, May 10-20, 2016. The Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference will be held in July 2016 in Lake Junaluska, NC.


Voting/Election of Lay Delegates

The first ballot for election of lay delegates will be taken at the Opening Business Session on Tuesday afternoon, June 16, 2015, immediately following the Opening Worship Service. Subsequent ballots will be taken throughout all business sessions.


Distribution of Candidate Election Material

Tables will be available for registered candidates to place election materials such as brochures and flyers in the Cypress Room of the Foundry Building, Athens Georgia adjacent to the Laity Registration area at annual conference beginning Monday afternoon June 15 and continuing Tuesday June 16. No election materials may be distributed or placed on chairs in the Classic Center Grand Hall or Theatre. For safety purposes, no election materials may be distributed in any of the hallways or at the entrances of any of the Classic Center Buildings or immediately surrounding the exterior doors. 

The Lay Election Committee of the Conference Board of Laity will provide a Lay Election Candidates List of all registered candidates’ names in alphabetical order. This List will be available in the Cypress Room beginning Monday afternoon, June 13, and Tuesday, June 14, during Laity Registration. Lay Members are encouraged to utilize this list to make notes of the ballot report(s) following the reporting of ballot results.

Before the Business Session on mornings following the first laity ballot, in compliance with the Laity Election Task Force Recommendation, Principle #5, the Lay Election Committee of the Conference Board of Laity will distribute a Laity Election Summary Report for all Lay Members to Annual Conference. This Summary Report will provide the official election results through the last reported ballot read by the bishop on the previous day by listing the candidates and the number of votes received in the order of the last ballot reported.


Historical Document for Information:

The Laity Election Task Force was authorized by the 2007 North Georgia Annual Conference to study the laity election process for future years. At the 2008 Laity Orientation Session the task force reported it had agreed upon four principles for the 2011election of 2012 lay delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conferences. The task force also reported it had not come to agreement with regard to the use of mailings, phone calls, campaign brochures and literature, electronic media use and suggested voting lists. The task force requested feedback from the lay delegates on these items in the form of a questionnaire. Based upon the results of the survey and further study, prayer and considerations the Task Force recommends adoption of the following statement:

Serving as a delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conferences is an awesome responsibility. Not only must one be mentally and physically fit to endure long days and nights, as well as be committed to extensive preparatory reading, but the delegate must also be prepared to devote financial resources to cover

expenses over and above those for which one is compensated. Those who desire to be elected (candidates) must meet The Book of Discipline requirements as described in ¶36, Article V. The Annual Conference responsibility for the election process is covered in The Book of Discipline ¶34, Article III and ¶36, Article V and by Judicial Council decisions 1083, 592 and 435.

The following principles are recommended to be part of the lay election process:

1 Candidates may participate in the Candidate Handbook which the conference

will provide for delegates. This booklet will provide picture, biographical sketch and the option of presenting 300 words to be used as the candidate sees fit but not necessarily for stating the candidate’s position on issues.

2 Candidates should refrain from engaging in criticism of other candidates.

3 We affirm the freedom of each annual conference member to support and

elect delegates to General and Jurisdictional conference based on the gifts and graces of the individual candidates and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

4 Candidates should refrain from coercing others to support specific candidates.

5 Before the morning sessions, beginning on days following the first laity election ballot, the Conference Board of Laity is requested, authorized, and encouraged to distribute a Laity Election Summary Report. This summary shall report the election results through the last reported ballot read by the bishop on the previous day by listing the candidates and the number of votes received in the order of the last ballot reported. No other lists of results should be distributed to the laity during the election process after the first ballot.

No further restrictions shall be placed on candidates or lay members in the election process. We acknowledge the acceptance of candidates and lay members working together as an authentic witness within The United Methodist Church. It is our desire that this document serve as guidelines for future laity elections and that no further changes to the laity election process will be made until after the current quadrennium elections unless mandated by the Judicial Council.

Signature of Agreement: I, as a member of the Lay Election Task Force, signify my agreement to the above recommendation as I agreed to with all members of the Task Force during our meeting on January 22, 2009.

Signed Laity Election Task Force members: Dorothy Edmond, Hank Huckaby, Marjorie Kimbrough, Dianne Spencer, Joe Whittemore, and Shan Yohan,

Jan. 22. 2009.