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The mathematics of Votes by Orders in the House of Deputies
My copy of the BISHOP AND DEPUTY HANDBOOK FOR THE 74th GENERAL
CONVENTION arrived yesterday. It notes:
On some matters, notably amendment of the Constitution,
the House of Deputies votes "by Dioceses and Orders."
Any matter may be subject to a "vote by orders" on
request of the entire clerical or lay deputation from
In a vote "by Dioceses and Orders," each diocese has
one vote each in clerical and lay orders. Adoption
requires a majority in the affirmative in each order.
Votes by orders can be tricky. An issue can "win" by as little as
38.25% of the vote, or at the other extreme, it might require one more
vote than 61.75% to win.
I will illustrate the extremes, whereby a vote by orders can pass by
either the lowest possible percent of the individuals voting for it,
and second, whereby a vote to win by orders will require the highest
percent of individuals voting for it:
For the ease of math, let's assume there are 100 dioceses voting
(there actually are 108). You would need to win the vote of a minimum
of 51 dioceses in each order. If an order splits "3 yes; 1 no,' vote
is still 'Yes' in that diocese in that order. That's the minimum it
takes to pass in an order.
If an order votes '0 yes; 4 no,' obviously the vote is 'No' in that
diocese in that order. That's the maximum 'no' vote
in an order.
Suppose 51 dioceses vote '1 no to 3 yes.' The issue wins in all 51
diocese in that order. Suppose the other 49 dioceses vote '4 no to 0
yes.' The issue loses all all 49 in that order.
Thus the issue will have won in that order with only 153 yes votes,
out of 400 possible (or 38.25%). Put the other way round, your 'side'
could lose with as much as 61.75% of the actual votes.
There are of course many other combinations, and it is highly unlikely
a vote by orders would push to the extremes I have reviewed.
Another complication, again from the HANDBOOK:
If the diocesan vote in either order is divided, it
is recorded and not added to the affirmative total,
effectively counting in the negative.
Put another way, if only half of the votes are 'yes,' they count as
'no' in that order in that diocese.
I hope this is helpful
Lutibelle/Louie, L2 Newark. Member of Executive Council
There are 47 days left until General Convention.