Commonly Asked Questions about the Upcoming Church Vote Process
What if I can’t get there by 6 p.m.? Can I show up late and still VOTE?
We will start checking people in at 5 p.m. and ask that you arrive by 5:30 p.m to ensure we can check in everyone by the start of the meeting. Check-in will end at 5:45 p.m. to allow for registrars to enter the Sanctuary as well. However, one check-in table will remain from 5:45-5:50 p.m. for late arrivals. Once the meeting is called to order at 6 p.m., you will NOT be permitted entrance and CANNOT vote. Punctuality is imperative for this important meeting! Please plan to allow yourself time to park, check in and be seated. We suggest you plan to arrive NO LATER than 5:30 p.m.
What is the check-in process for the Church Conference?
For all members, check-in tables will be in the Narthex. Find your check-in table based on your last name. Please state your LAST NAME and then first name to the check-in volunteer and present photo identification to verify your name. Once you have been verified as a full member, you will receive your ballot and be permitted entrance to the building and be directed to the Sanctuary. Once inside, please move to the front of the Sanctuary for seating. Seating will be filled from front to back.
What forms of identification are acceptable?
A photo ID is absolutely required regardless of age. You may bring your driver’s license, government-issued ID, military ID, school ID, or any card with your photo and your name clearly printed on it. If you do not have a photo ID or are unable to obtain one, based on the requirements from the North Georgia Conference, you will not be allowed to receive a voting ballot.
How many votes does it take for the disaffiliation to pass?
The vote can only pass with a supermajority (at least two-thirds or 66.67% of the total number of ballots issued). This means that any ballots turned in with no markings or any ballots not turned in to the tellers will count as a NO vote. If you are present for the Church Conference and receive a ballot, you are encouraged to use that opportunity to vote and turn in your ballot.
Will the vote be taken by hand, voice, or ballot?
The vote will be taken by written ballot. The procedure is anonymous. The ballots will then be counted and preserved until after the Annual Conference vote in November.
Will we be able to see the ballot before October 9th?
No, the actual ballots will be provided by the District Superintendent. Here is the wording we anticipate:
Do you want the First United Methodist Church of Union County to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church for reasons of conscience regarding a change in the requirements and provisions of the Book of Discipline related to the practice of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals as resolved and adopted by the 2019 General Conference, or the actions or inactions of its annual conference related to these issues which follow as provided in Paragraph 2553 of The Book of Discipline?
Options will be Yes (disaffiliate) or No (remain UMC).
How will the vote be conducted?
Our District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Doug Gilreath, will call the Conference to order. He will explain the ballot and the voting process. When instructed, you will use your ballot to vote either “yes” or “no.” A “yes” vote will mean that you do want First United Methodist Church of Union County to disaffiliate from the UMC. A “no” vote will mean that you do not want First United Methodist Church of Union County to disaffiliate from the UMC and want to remain a UMC church. The exact wording of the ballot will be provided by Dr. Gilreath. Designated individuals will collect all ballots and counting will begin immediately.
Who will count the votes?
The submitted ballots will be counted by a team of First United Methodist Church of Union County members (elected as tellers at the beginning of the church conference) and District tellers (selected by the District Superintendent).
May I leave after I vote?
We strongly encourage you to stay for the duration of the Church Conference. In the rare event of a count that’s too close to call, we will have a re-vote. For this reason, we request that all members stay until the conclusion of the meeting.
How will the vote be decided?
The decision to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church must be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) supermajority vote of the members present at the Church Conference. This is NOT a 2/3 vote of the entire registered membership. The 2/3 threshold will be based on the total number of ballots issued on Oct. 9. There must be at least 2/3 of the ballots marked YES out of the total number of ballots issued for the disaffiliation vote to pass.
When will the outcome be announced?
The outcome of the vote will be announced by Dr. Gilreath as soon as the count is verified by auditors that evening.
How long will the meeting take?
We expect the meeting to last approximately 1 hour, but it may go longer.
When will the disaffiliation be finalized?
If the vote to disaffiliate meets the 2/3 requirement, the disaffiliation will be ratified at a Special Called Annual Conference on Nov. 18 in Athens. 2/3 vote of the entire registered membership.
If I’m not a member, can I still attend the meeting and just not vote?
Please respect that this meeting is for full members only. Non-members will not be permitted entrance to the Sanctuary.
I’m not sure I’m a member. How can I verify my membership status?
We were required to submit a membership list to the District Office a couple of weeks ago. Only persons listed as members on this list will be allowed to vote. To confirm your status, you may email email@example.com and we will respond as quickly as possible.
Thank you for your continued faithfulness to this process of discernment.
Please continue to keep this important vote in your prayers at 10:09 am and 10:09 pm.