Unit Conventions and the responsibilities of delegates
On 10 February 2019, over 389 individuals gathered in 14 locations to participate in unit conventions. After a devotional programme, ballots were cast. As small teams of tellers helped to process the ballots, the friends participated in study and consultation pertaining to topics of national relevance, and many recommendations for the National Spiritual Assembly were recorded.
This year, the following 57 delegates (listed in alphabetical order) were elected:
These delegates will assemble at National Convention, consult and share insights about the progress of the Bahá’í community, and vote for the members of the National Spiritual Assembly. For delegates there are vital responsibilities to uphold prior to the National Convention. Any believer may approach a delegate(s) - whether the delegate is elected from their area or that of another unit, and share thoughts, ideas, concerns and suggestions. While the delegates will engage in earnest conversation and listen carefully to the hearts of all those who approach them, they must use their own judgement and draw on their own spiritual perception to determine what they will share during the National Convention.
As they prepare for the convention, the delegates will use the “extended period before the actual election” to prayerfully reflect on the “necessary qualities” specified by the Guardian, and “properly assess those for whom a vote should be cast”. Foremost in their minds, without the least trace of passion or prejudice, irrespective of material considerations, with a heightened awareness of the functions to be performed, and with consideration to the distribution of age, diversity and gender, will be the qualities “of unquestioned loyalty, of selfless devotion, of a well-trained mind, of recognized ability and mature experience”.
Prior to the National Convention, at the request of the National Spiritual Assembly, delegates will have also engaged in study and analysis of the annual report and conscientious review of selected messages pertinent to the current Plan.
By participating in the unit convention, believers take part in a three-stage electoral process.
In every national Bahá’í community, all adult Bahá’ís in good standing, 21 years of age or older, are eligible to take part in elections at the grassroots level—known as unit conventions—held once a year throughout their country. At these conventions, the Bahá’ís vote by secret ballot for delegates who are duly responsible to elect the nine persons to serve on the National Spiritual Assembly for the term of one administrative year. The members of the National Spiritual Assembly are then elected at the National Convention. These members, in turn, elect the nine members to serve on the Universal House of Justice. The election of the Universal House of Justice is conducted once every five years at the International Bahá’í Convention.*