27 October Minister Moment

“How do you know your vote was counted?”

Come Sunday with a festive costume … our service will be very “spiritual” and intergenerational!

Have you voted?  Will you vote on Tuesday, November 7th?  Yes, you can still get an absentee ballot this afternoon (or next week) if you have a valid reason.  For Virginia:


Now, here is a very real question.  How do you know your vote was counted?  I have had the privilege of having two voting experts as friends.  One was a co-worker at RCA who left to write a PhD dissertation on voting integrity.  She later testified before the Supreme Court.. you may remember there was a case in 2000.  The other graduated with me in computer science, became a professor, and is now on the board of http://www.verifiedvoting.org and advocates for audit trail voting and other ways of preventing vote theft.  The website I just listed includes articles on what verifiable voting is, and how electronic systems can (oops!) lose votes.  It is one of those long-term changes, like Gerrymandering, which can pervert democracy.  When voting for our government, it is important that our government give us a method that respects our franchise.

Here in Norfolk we have to trust some plastic thingie to remember our choices, or perhaps the box remembers, I do not know and have no way to see that it was tabulated correctly.  Across the water in Newport News, marked ballots are scanned and can be recounted if challenged, or if the electronic tabulator fails.  In Norfolk, if the tabulator fails or is hacked in some way, electronically stored votes can not be recounted or may be falsely reported. Given our fifth principle of “use of the democratic process,” we owe it to our world to be informed about honesty, trust and transparency in our voting.

Note that absentee ballots in Norfolk provide their own paper trail, and are therefore verifiable.

While I’m on the subject of transparency, I’d like to say THANK YOU to various committee chairs.  In the past, our e-mails would have titles like “It’s Time to Meet Again”  and sometimes the username was not something I’d recognize.  I’d have to look at the e-mail, sometimes repeatedly to figure out what meeting I might or might not attend.  More recently I’ve seen e-mail subject lines like:  “Floral Team Mon. 10/25 at 3PM Can You Make It?”  This instantly tells me who, what, when.. and I can open it if I want!  It is one way to acknowledge the worth of the reader.  How do you want your message to be received?

The Caring Team had a great meeting on Wednesday.  One thing we talked about was how to welcome a new minister.  They recognized that ministers need opportunities to get to know members in ways other than large receptions or formal meetings.  You might ask how you want to integrate a minister into congregational life.  I had one suggestion: Write your committee minutes as if they were going to be read by the new minister. The Caring Team’s minutes lifted up the Death Cafe held last month, the plan to hold one in the spring, recruiting new members, verifying their large list of volunteers, and who was being cared for and how.  A minister can go over these with the chair and learn an incredible amount.  How is UCN/CVUU a caring community?  How do they plan?  Etc.  I suggest other committees and teams work on keeping similar logs or minutes.

Caring also floated the idea of a new picture directory, though they would be users of it, not the creators.

Looking Ahead: I’m glad we are starting up Fabulous First Fridays again … come for dinner, stay for games or go in to hear our Environmental Forum speaker!  That’s November 3rd.  Also, November 5 is not only a day with a high tide (check website to see about possible flooding) but also the beginning of STANDARD TIME!  Yep, our mornings will be brighter and afternoons darker.  You get a free hour!

See you Sunday!

Rev Charlie