Great Stuff Found on the Web — Bylaw Delay

Found over on Witness, Mercy, Life Together blog:


baptized-for-this-momentAnd now our Synod must wait for the results of the election of its President for the 2013-2016 triennium. Waiting may seem unnecessary or unreasonable, but our bylaw is clear: “(b) Two weeks prior to the convention, the Secretary shall notify the candidates of the results of the ballots. He shall thereafter also make the results know to the public” (Bylaw [b]).

The election process has been a long haul, one that began well in advance of our 2012 district conventions. It caused greater care on the part of district presidents to regulate district convention representation; it required greater diligence on the part of district secretaries to monitor their convention registration processes; it resulted in a major task for the Synod’s Rosters and Statistics Department to load detailed data for more than 8,200 voters into the computer system and maintain every detail of the voter list for more than a year; it included identifying and working with an outside vendor capable of providing electronic balloting and tabulation; it included a major effort to achieve and maintain contact with delegates with computers (or not) and email accounts (or not), given the many variables involved in computer hardware and email software; and it required the education and preparation of voters for an entirely new experience.

Thankfully, all went well. Every voter interested in voting should have been able to participate successfully. Efforts to contact and provide voting information were duplicated all along the way with email transmissions and tests, postcards, and regular mailings. An email address and telephone number to obtain help were provided prior to and available throughout the balloting period (June 22-25), and every call for help was handled appropriately by Election-America, Rosters and Statistics staff, my office, or, when voter list concerns surfaced, by me personally as the one ultimately responsible for providing a “secure and verifiable method” of electing the President (Bylaw

And now we wait until July 6, two weeks prior to the convention. On that date, as required, I will first notify the candidates of the results of the balloting, after which the results will be made known to the public using every means at the disposal of our Synod’s Communications Department. While we wait, special thanks are in order to Election-America of Garden City, NY, provider of the electronic balloting service and much assistance. Equally special thanks to district and national Synod staff for their diligence and cooperation, and to the voters who were patient and cooperative and willing to participate in this entirely new manner of electing the President of the Synod. And above all, thanks be to God for providing the necessary resources and blessing.

Ray Hartwig
LCMS Secretary

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Great Stuff Found on the Web — Bylaw Delay — 7 Comments

  1. “(b) Two weeks prior to the convention, the Secretary shall notify the candidates of the results of the ballots. He shall thereafter also make the results know to the public”

    Maybe for Bylaw,

    “(b) No later than two weeks prior to the convention, the Secretary shall notify the candidates of the results of the ballots. He shall thereafter also make the results know to the public.”

    would have cost too many electrons to include in the 2010 LCMS Handbook.

  2. One way or another–perhaps those extra electrons *should* have been spent back in ’10–Secretary Hartwig has, as far as I have seen, done an outstanding job in carrying off this election. The word “integrity” has his picture next to it in some dictionaries, I believe…. 🙂

  3. Another comment to the BRTFSSG dream team, 2010 Floor Committee 8 Chairman Larry Stoterau, and 597 Resolution 8-13 approving delegates in 2010:

    Curiously, Bylaw (b), after specifying the equivalent of 20,160 minutes prior to the synod convention as the precise time for notifying SP candidates of the results of the ballots, then specifies or requires no precise time after that moment of notification (other than an open-ended “thereafter”) to “make the results known to the public,” which presumably would include convention delegates and individual and congregational members of the Missouri Synod.

  4. Would it be possible to ask for a financial accounting to see how much this change in election format cost us in the LCMS? It couldn’t have been cheap, and it would be nice for the delegates to know as we collectively consider if we want to keep this new format or revert back to the old way of electing a synodical president.

    Just wondering out loud…

    In Christ, Clint

  5. Yes, it is possible to ask for disclosure of the substantial cost for the presidential election.

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