Extend voting hours

Many of us left General assembly today and went directly to a couple of different parties, one big one for the UU women’s Federation. I missed the deadline for the vote today:(
Next year, let’s continue voting until midnight, that will give everyone more equal opportunity to vote.


Others have also mentioned this, and the feedback is noted.

For the record, I specifically asked the Board weeks or months ago to extend voting hours as part of greater equity in delegate representation. With the posting of videos of the sessions and extended voting hours, many more delegates might be able to serve their congregations who belong to already under-represented groups at GA: Lower-income and truly working-class people who have less control over their schedules than others, and shift workers (such as those who work at restaurants or hospitals) who may have much longer hours.

For people on the West Coast, the voting closed at 7 p.m. While this may be early enough to vote for workers with a more typical “9 to 5” schedule, it leaves little time to view and reflect on the relevant Business session related to the vote. When the time of “10” (for people in local time on the East Coast) was announced, it was stated that the times might be extended to midnight for special reasons or something like that. I would submit that living in a time zone three hours earlier should not have to be a “special reason,” and that the request to extend the hours as much as possible that was made BEFORE GA should have been heeded.

At the Board meeting or Open House where I raised this question, I suggested a full 24 hours, but this was explained to be not possible due to requirements for posting the results, if I recall correctly. I will note that these Board Open Houses occur during regular working hours on the West Coast (4 p.m. our time). Right in the few months leading up to GA, the Board chose to discontinue recording these sessions, making them unavailable to UUs unable to attend. The Board refused repeated requests to restore equitable access, claiming that harm was being caused in the sessions that was compounded by recording them. The way to address such harms, in my view, is to enforce the guidelines outlined for such sessions and mute or remove hecklers. It is not to hamstring the access of an entire demographic to relevant information and then claim that these sessions contain “the same” information available elsewhere. This is clearly not true. These are free-form discussions that allow other UUs–not only the Board–to better understand where their fellow UUs are coming from. Specific questions get answered. The context of actual human discussion is an irreplaceable part our “continuing the conversations.”

I hope that among the first actions of the Board in the coming year will be to restore and promote more equitable access both to information and to voting for all UUs, in particular more marginalized working-class individuals. Equity begins with access.

Thank you.

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