How To Use AC Voting Rights Field
In The United Methodist Church, Annual Conference members have voting rights based on membership status. Between managing the rules set out by the Book of Discipline, tracking each member’s status and assigning them voting credentials, keeping up with Annual Conference voting statuses can be a chore.
Conference secretaries, rejoice! The addition of a new field in People records makes this easier to manage. Here’s how:
Navigate to an individual record in the People view. In that person’s record, scroll down (or start typing "voting rights" in the "jump to field" box) to the Trainings, Courses, Checks, Classes, etc. section. Near the bottom of the section is a new field called AC Voting Rights.
Before we get to the logistics of easily using this field, there are a few things to note:
- Through conversation with Conference Secretaries, we added the six voting options you see displayed in the drop-down:
- Basic AC Plenary issues
- Ordination/character/conference relations of clergy
- Constitutional amendments
- Election of GC/JC lay delegates
- Election of GC/JC clergy delegates
- No voting rights
Every person seated within the bar of the Annual Conference Session will have one or more of these voting rights, based on the 2016 Book of Discipline (including paragraphs 33, 316.6, 320.5, 321.1, 327.2, 334.1, 344.4, 346, 353.7, 354.8, 358, and 602).
- The field allows you to multi-select from the six options. So, for example, a member might have voting rights No. 1 and No. 4, etc.
- While these standardized six options cannot be removed, you can add to them under Admin -> Categories. Learn more about editing category options in this article.
On to the most exciting function of the field: The ability to add and remove voting rights en masse based on clergy and lay status. It’s an easy, few-step process:
- To make a mass update, first filter your People records for a group that gets one type of voting right. For example, you might filter for Elders and Deacons in Full Connection in order to assign them the voting right of “Ordination/character/conference relations of clergy.” Learn how to filter a view in this article.
- In the upper right corner, under More Actions, select “Mass Edit / Delete.” Find the AC Voting Rights field on the list. When prompted, select the voting rights option that should be assigned for the entire filtered group. Then enter the confirmation code in the pop-up box. Learn more about mass updating for batches of records in any view in this article.
- Once the mass update has completed, do it again and again to add AC voting rights by clergy and lay status.
Two other quick, relevant tips:
Need to download a list of those with voting rights? Filter the People view for any record that “is not NULL” in the AC Voting Rights field. Then, using the Result Fields button in the upper right corner, customize the information you want to download by adding or removing columns. When you’re ready to download, click “Download” under the More Actions drop-down in the upper right corner.
Need to clear out old voting rights and start fresh? Simply filter for any record that “is not NULL” in the AC Voting Rights field and use the mass update feature to clear the field.
PRO TIPS FROM A CONFERENCE SECRETARY
It's likely you won't have to start fresh on your clergy records if you remember to update the AC Voting Rights field each time that you update someone's Current Clergy Status field. For instance, when a provisional member becomes a full member, their voting rights, along with their status, change. It's more likely you'll need to update all lay member voting rights each year. To do this, first run a search for your lay members to Annual Conference and then filter that list by "is not NULL" in the AC Voting Rights field.
This process should not occur in a vacuum. It’s important that database managers, Brick River admins and the Conference Secretary work together as a team to determine who gets what voting rights. Admins and database managers should run a report for Conference Secretaries to check the assigned voting rights after the mass update is made.