In a move designed to save thousands of dollars in travel expenses, eliminate an extra meeting and preserve summer vacations, the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada plans to vote for a new metropolitan by fax and e-mail.
The idea came from the Revd Alan Perry, an Internet-savvy priest from Pierrefonds, Quebec, who also set up and maintains the ecclesiastical province's website.
Father Perry figured the province would save more than $20,000 in travel costs alone by taking the electronic route in the election to replace Archbishop Arthur Peters of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, whose retirement as metropolitan becomes effective in February.
The province was founded in 1860, and predates the national church by three decades. It includes seven dioceses: Montreal, Quebec, Fredericton, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Western Newfoundland, Central Newfoundland and Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador. The e-mail election has tentatively been scheduled for May.
The thorniest problem was how to set up a protocol to protect the anonymity of the vote. That was addressed with the planned introduction of two scrutineers, both from outside the province and neither a member of council, with e-mail and fax capabilities. "For less than the cost of a council [Elective Assembly] we could buy them each a computer and a fax," Father Perry said.
Each voter will submit a ballot to both scrutineers, he said, who will in turn check with each other. People will have three days to submit their vote after receiving a list of candidates. In order to be elected, the candidate must receive a majority in each of the three orders-- bishops, clergy and laity.
The priest said scrutineers preserve the anonymity of the vote by destroying faxes and erasing e-mails after the voting is over.
Article from: Anglican Journal by Jane Davidson, Staff Writer