GA draws more than 4,000; offsite delegates cast votes
More than 4,000 people are attending this GA, according to UUA Secretary Tom Loughrey. Friday morning he gave a preliminary credentials report to attendees.
In all, 4,028 people have registered for the conference, not including UUA staff, he said. They are from 585 congregations. There are 1,933 total delegates, including 49 who are participating from offsite in a remote voting demonstration.
Some of the 49 offsite delegates participated in Friday’s plenary. They voted 18-4 in favor of the Ethical Eating Statement of Conscience that onsite delegates debated Friday. (The votes are being recorded, but not counted in the total vote, because the bylaws do not currently allow delegates to vote offsite.) Moderator Gini Courter invited onsite delegates to welcome those who were offsite, and they did so with a resounding roar of applause.
Mark Steinwinter, the UUA’s director of Information Technology Services, said the offsite delegates participated Thursday in a mini-assembly on three business resolutions which will come before GA delegates later this weekend, including one that will permit offsite voting. Steinwinter connected with them through a conference call Thursday and again Friday.
“On Thursday they discussed the various resolutions among themselves and then held a straw vote. It worked very well,” he said. Then on Friday, the offsite delegates listened to the Ethical Eating debate as it was occurring and voted along with the delegates in the hall. Their votes don’t count this year, but if delegates approve offsite voting this week then next year offsite votes will indeed count.