Comments: Synod election turnout

Any likelihood that these dismal figure will be investigated. What do they show? Apathy? Disengagement? Disillusion?

Posted by Perry Butler at Thursday, 26 November 2015 at 7:45pm GMT

In answer to Perry, almost certainly 'yes', by the Elections Review Group, a sub-committee of the Synod's Business Committee, which will be established early in 2016: see the answer to my question (Q36) to the Chairman of the Business Committee, given on Tuesday evening. However, given that the overall turnout percentages this year differ little from those in 2010 (I described them in my question as "depressingly low"), the real issue to investigate is whether anything can be done that might improve them in 2020, e.g. the introduction of online voting as an option. In this connection, it will be interesting to discover, if we can, why there were such big differences in turnout between some dioceses, e.g. (for the laity) 72.08% in Guildford and 64.06% in Rochester, but only 29.72% in Hereford and 30.79% in Peterborough.

Posted by David Lamming at Friday, 27 November 2015 at 1:00am GMT

I have added David Lamming's question and the answer to the bottom of my article, below the fold.

Posted by Peter Owen at Friday, 27 November 2015 at 11:05am GMT

Yes, we are lamenting this in Hereford. In defence of the laity, we have unusually large electoral rolls (e.g. more than Worcester, amazingly, from about 1/3 population) and therefore Deanery Synod memberships - church membership in the country is wide and shallow and so fewer took the trouble to participate. It's not a very political diocese so apathy is high among the clergy, and there were only 4 candidates for the 3 seats. But also some defects of administration in the balloting.

Posted by Neil Patterson at Friday, 27 November 2015 at 7:04pm GMT

Given the low turnout in 2010, I'm surprised more bishops didn't say and do more to encourage clergy and laity to vote.I always voted and discussed with my deanery reps the various candidates and how we felt they measured up to the feelings within our parish. I am genuinely surprised and puzzled all clergy don't do this ...not least as at General Election time clergy often play a part in organising hustings and often declare voting as a Christian duty.
I hope some research will be done amongst those who didn't vote as to why and to how the General Synod is perceived.That being" episcopally led and synodically governed" rings rather hollow if so few in the Church wish to participate in making it work.

Posted by Perry Butler at Sunday, 29 November 2015 at 8:19am GMT

Given the relatively low level of influence and responsibility of deanery synods, I would have hoped that elected members would take on this important responsibility with more diligence. Perhaps some form of online voting would encourage greater participation by any under 40s in Deanery Synods who may think of buying stamps and posting letters rather as they think of LPs or cars with crank handles - quaint cultural heritage but not part of everyday life.

Posted by Rob Edlin-White at Monday, 30 November 2015 at 11:30am GMT

In Guildford Diocese, three of our four lay reps (the three male members as it happens) voted "no" in the first vote on women bishops. This incensed many of us ordinary lay people, and there was a fairly vocal fuss made. One aspect of that was trying to make our Deanery reps appreciate that it mattered whom they elected to General Synod (and two of those three are no longer on Synod). So I'm not too surprised that turnout was reasonably high in Guildford this time. But I see no reason why a similar phenomenon should not be expected elsewhere.

Posted by John swanson at Monday, 30 November 2015 at 9:21pm GMT

John - as I posted on an earlier thread, a very similar scenario occurred in Rochester to that which you describe in Guildford, and with very similar results. So it is not too surprising that these two dioceses should be at the top of the turnout figures.

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Wednesday, 2 December 2015 at 12:45pm GMT

John and Malcolm's comments suggests that what galvanizes the electorate is the perception that people made a mistake last time!

Posted by Perry Butler at Thursday, 3 December 2015 at 1:54pm GMT
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