A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Elections

Bahá’ís vote in civil elections, as long as they do not have to identify themselves with any party in order to do so.
(Universal House of Justice, To the Bahá’ís of Iran, 2 March 2013)


Concerning the question of refusal by certain believers to accept election to an administrative post: The Guardian strongly feels that criticism, opposition, or confusion do not provide sufficient grounds for either refusal or resignation. Only cases of physical or mental incapacity, which, by their very nature, are extremely rare, constitute valid reasons for such an act.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 50)


I feel that reference to personalities before the election would give rise to misunderstanding and differences. What the friends should do is to get thoroughly acquainted with one another, to exchange views, to mix freely and discuss among themselves the requirements, and qualification for such a membership without reference or application, however indirect, to particularly individuals, but should stress the necessity of getting fully acquainted with the qualifications of membership referred to in our Beloved’s Tablets and of learning more about one another through direct, personal experience rather than through the reports and opinions of our friends.
(Shoghi Effendi, Principles of Bahá’í Administration, p. 46)


In regard to your question about qualification of delegates and Assembly members: the qualifications which he outlines are really applicable to anyone we elect to a Bahá’í office, whatever its nature. But these are only an indication, they do not mean people who don’t fulfill them cannot be elected to office. We must aim as high as we can.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Spiritual Character of Bahá’í Elections)


It is a basic principle of elections for Bahá’í Spiritual Assemblies that each voter must vote for the nine people who, in his or her opinion, are best suited to serve. He may have a low opinion of all those who are eligible, but his duty is to vote for those nine from among them who, in his estimation, best meet the standards for service on a Spiritual Assembly. This is how it is possible to vote for exactly nine names. Since the membership of an Assembly is nine, it would give rise to a number of statistical anomalies if voters were permitted to record votes for fewer or more than nine names. In any one election there are not usually any cases where a voter accidentally makes a mistake and includes a name of an ineligible person, so the statistical effect is slight, and there is no need to invalidate his whole ballot. As you point out, a believer who does not wish to vote for nine, may achieve his end by purposely including the names of those who are ineligible, but this would be a betrayal of the trust placed in him as a Bahá’í voter. One cannot control such actions, but like any action contrary to the spirit of the Faith, they are detrimental and should be strongly discouraged.
(Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, October 26, 1983)


It is the duty of the individual friends to come to know one another and finds out who are the persons best fitted to become members of that body. This is a slow process but surely the best one and gives the greatest amount of freedom of choice to the electors. It is the duty of the friends individually to become more intelligent voters and vote only after studying the situation conscientiously.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 19)


Local Spiritual Assemblies which have not been re-elected during the Ridván period must be considered as groups. However, there may be cases when conditions beyond the control of the local believers exist, such as, as you have said, the Bahá’ís had left the community because of flooding, or extremely inclement weather conditions made it impossible to hold the election. In such cases which, by their very nature, should be rare, the National Spiritual Assembly may use its discretion in recognizing the Local Spiritual Assembly, considering it a group, or decide to hold the election of such Local Spiritual Assemblies at a later date when the friends have returned to their communities.
(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Ecuador, September 5, 1983)


The Bahá’í electoral system, operating by secret ballot, with no nominations or electioneering, encourages universal participation: every adult Bahá’í is eligible for election to local and national administrative bodies responsible for decision in the conduct of Bahá’í affairs.
(Bahá’í International Community, 1993 Apr 05, Equality of Men & Women A New Reality)


The manner in which the elector exercises the right and privilege to cast his vote is therefore of great significance. Shoghi Effendi’s instruction in this passage further explains that “to be able to make a wise choice at the election time, it is necessary for him to be in close and continued contact with all local activities, be they teaching, administrative or otherwise, and to fully and whole-heartedly participate in the affairs of the local as well as national committees and assemblies in his country. It is only in this way that a believer can develop a true social consciousness and acquire a true sense of responsibility in matters affecting the interests of the Cause. Bahá’I community life thus makes it a duty for every loyal and faithful believer to become an intelligent, well-informed and responsible elector, and also gives him the opportunity of raising himself to such a station.
(Universal House of Justice Letter on Bahá’í Elections To the Bahá’ís of the World, 25 March 2007)


The report from … indicates that the … old believer is not always lucid apparently suffering from Alzheimers disease. Whether this individual is able to serve on the Assembly will depend on the degree to which he is able to understand what is being discussed and participate. The brief compilation of Writings on mental illness, appended below, will hopefully assist the friends to clarify whether the elderly believer could be considered for Assembly membership.
(NSA of the Bahá’ís of Canada, to the Bahá’í Council of British Columbia and Yukon, 25 February 2000)


Voting by telephone: If it is not possible to vote by mail, you may cast your vote by telephone in the following manner: Please call the Bahá’í National Centre … Tell the receptionist that you are a delegate who wishes to cast your ballot in the National Spiritual Assembly by-election. The receptionist will connect you to a person who will ask for your name, your Bahá’í identification number and other information to verify your identity as a delegate. You will then be transferred anonymously to a second individual. Without identifying yourself, state to this second individual the name of the person for whom you are voting. As you can appreciate, to protect confidentiality it is important that you not engage in conversation with this second person, but say only the name of the individual for whom you are voting.
(National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada, to all delegates to the 2013 National Convention, regarding by-election)


We feel sure that your Council is also encouraging the local friends to patiently and lovingly involve all members of the community in their activities, maintaining positive relations with the other individual mentioned who does not wish to participate in the Assembly formation.
(NSA of the Bahá’ís of Canada, to the Bahá’í Council of British Columbia and Yukon, 25 February 2000)


We have also been asked to point out that although it is the obligation of a Bahá’í to serve on an Assembly, either Local or National, when elected, on several occasions the beloved Guardian pointed out that before the election of officers, if any member had a good reason in his own opinion why he should not be elected to one of the offices of the Assembly, he was free to suggest that he should not be so elected.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


When called upon to vote in a Bahá’í election, believers should be aware that they are carrying out a sacred task unique to this Dispensation. They should approach this duty in a prayerful attitude, seeking divine guidance and confirmation. As Shoghi Effendi has advised, “they must turn completely to God, and with a purity of motive, a freedom of spirit and a sanctity of heart, participate in the elections.”
(Universal House of Justice Letter on Bahá’í Elections To the Bahá’ís of the World, 25 March 2007)


While there should be no mention of personalities in connection with Bahá’I elections, it is quite appropriate for believers to discuss the requirements and qualifications for membership in the institution to be elected. Shoghi Effendi offers clear guidance on this point: “I feel that reference to personalities before the election would give rise to misunderstanding and differences. What the friends should do is to get thoroughly acquainted with one another, to exchange views, to mix freely and discuss among themselves the requirements and qualifications for such a membership without reference or application, however indirect, to particular individuals.” Among the “necessary qualities” specified by the Guardian are those “of unquestioned loyalty, of selfless devotion, of a well-trained mind, of recognized ability and mature experience”. With a heightened awareness of the functions to be performed by the elected body, the believer can properly assess those for whom a vote should be cast. From among the pool of those whom the elector believes to be qualified to serve, selection should be made with due consideration given to such other factors as age distribution, diversity, and gender. The elector should make his choice after careful thought over an extended period before the actual election.
(Universal House of Justice Letter on Bahá’í Elections To the Bahá’ís of the World, 25 March 2007)