Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Baha'i Elections - Ridvan

Ridván starts tonight at sunset. So that means it is time for me to vote for 9 people to be elected to the Local Spiritual Assembly. There are no clergy in the Baha'i community, so we elect administrative leaders on a regular basis.

I have always been in awe at how absolutely no campaigning is used for Baha'i elections. It is basically up to the individual to spend the year getting to know everyone in the community to choose who you think is best suited for the role. Through prayer and deep thought you select 9 people and write their names on the ballot. It's so simple I had trouble believing it could work when I first became a Baha'i. However, now I love this concept and feel fortunate to be able to participate.

I found this article, Election Time By Mead Simon, that explains the election process pretty well.

Any Baha'i, in good standing, and over the age of 21, is not only both eligible to vote but also eligible to be elected. In the Baha'i community we are encouraged to vote for those people who exhibit criteria such as a "well-trained mind" (which is not the same as having a university diploma), "selfless devotion", "recognized ability" and "mature experience" (which is not necessarily the same as being elderly).

Picture explanation: This is a picture of the garden of Ridván which means paradise. It is located outside Baghdad where Bahá'u'lláh stayed for twelve days after the Ottoman Empire exiled Him from Baghdad and before commencing His journey to Constantinople.

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