Constitutional Amendments Reporting

“How did the votes tally on the constitutional amendments from annual conference?

The short answer:

Unfortunately, the answer is, respectfully, we are not to release the result(s), until a cumulative total is available.  Which won’t be until after all annual conferences have met and submitted their votes, and the Council of Bishops has reviewed.  So it will be at least November before we hear, but perhaps even after that.  Once we receive word, we will be publishing it.

The long answer:


Active Resident Bishop of the Annual Conference
Secretary of the Annual Conference

Bishop Marcus Matthews, Executive Secretary of the Council of Bishops
Rev. Gary W. Graves, Secretary of the General Conference

March 22, 2017


As we enter the season of annual conference sessions, one of the items which will be part of every agenda is the balloting for the proposed constitutional amendments passed by the 2016 General Conference.  ¶59 of The Book of Discipline 2016 states: “…The vote, after being completed, shall be canvassed by the Council of Bishops, and the amendment voted upon shall become effective upon their announcement of its having received the required majority…”

This paragraph gives responsibility for the canvass of votes and the announcement of the results to the Council of Bishops.  In order to meet the requirements of this Constitutional paragraph with as much equity as possible, we are asking that the secretary of each annual conference submit the totals of the balloting directly to the Executive Secretary of the Council of Bishops without announcing the results during the annual conference session.  The tally sheet provided by former Secretary of the General Conference, Rev. Fitzgerald Reist, would be used to transmit the results according to the instructions contained therein.  The annual conference secretary and resident bishop would each keep copies of the form for the records of the annual conference.

As a point of comparison, each annual conference secretary could be seen as a teller and the Executive Secretary of the COB could be seen as the head teller.  If a secret ballot were being taken in a large plenary body, the teller of each section would not announce the vote of that section aloud, but, instead, would report that vote count to the head teller who would calculate and report the cumulative total to the secretary and presiding officer for public announcement for the record.

The vote of each annual conference is only a portion of the larger total and publicly reporting individual sections of the total vote prior to the balloting by other annual conferences could be seen as having influence or charting an early projection of the cumulative results.  Since the session of the annual conference is an open meeting, any results announced during the session are available for reporting by any journalistic or social media and could have the unintended effect of pre-empting the announcement by the Council of Bishops as required in ¶59.  There is no complete announcement to be made until the cumulative votes have been totaled.  The official announcement will come from the Council of Bishops.

Thank you for your faithful service in this and many other responsibilities within the United Methodist Church and the Body of Christ!