Sunday, February 15, 2009

Five more presbytery vote updates

Several additional presbytery vote counts are now available. There are a few annoyances, but no surprises. Here's what I have, with the usual commentary that you can choose to ignore as desired.

Inland Northwest:
2001-2 01-A: 22 yes, 112 no --> 16.4% YES
2009 08-B: 44 yes, 76 no --> 36.7% YES

The great thing about these strong "Seeking A Miracle" anti-equality presbyteries is that they have a lot of possible positive movement. :-) Inland Northwest is one of the big success stories of this batch of presbyteries, coming in at over a 20% pro-equality shift. Note how equality supporters were able to double the number of people voting yes, while the "no" side lost over 30 votes compared to 2001-2.

This is a huge pro-LGBT shift and now puts Inland Northwest into the above-30% category. If you're in this presbytery, now looks like a great time to start a More Light Presbyterians chapter, if there isn't one there already. (To be fair: actually ANY time anywhere is the right time to start an MLP chapter, it's just that in Inland Northwest you've clearly got some pro-equality momentum going -- time to find each other and keep it going.)

Memphis aka Mid-South:
2001-2 01-A: 59 yes, 99 no --> 37.3% YES
2009 08-B: 31 yes, 67 no --> 31.6% YES

This vote shift is a disappointment, since it's one of the first cases where a presbytery with greater than 30% pro-equality support shifted ANTI-equality in 2009. It's nearly a 6% negative shift. The
pro-equality vote count dropped from about 60 people to about 30 people, which frankly doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I find it difficult to believe that the number of equality suppoters in this presbytery has been cut in half (59 yes down to 31 yes) in the past 7 years, so maybe this vote is just a big statistical outlier. If anybody has an interesting (factually accurate) back story about what was going on this year with the voting in this presbytery, feel free to send it to me and I can sanitize/summarize it to share.

Miami Valley (Ohio):
2001-2 01-A: 86 yes, 53 no --> 62% YES
2009 08-B: 72 yes, 48 no --> 60% YES

Miami Valley holds as a pro-equality presbytery, however I'm not just satisfied with a yes-on-08B vote, I want to see pro-LGBT vote percentage shifts over time. Although it's probably just statistical noise, here we see a -2% ANTI-equality shift in the voting trends. This isn't particularly cause to make anybody lose sleep at night, but we should be able to do better than this. Presbyteries like Chicago have demonstrated that it's possible to move from 60% "yes" to 75% "yes" in just 7 years, so I had somewhat hoped to see at least an 8% pro-equality shift from Miami Valley this year.

Saint Augustine:
2001-2 01-A: 66 yes, 105 no --> 39% YES
2009 08-B: 68 yes, 75 no --> 48% YES

With a strong 9% pro-LGBT shift, St. Augustine fits with the general pro-equality voting trend that we're seeing. This presbytery now moves from "very difficult to win" into "swing presbytery, could flip pro-equality" for future votes. Saint Augustine is a success story this year.

2001-2 01-A: 77 yes, 146 no --> 34.5% YES
2009 08-B: 82 yes, 112 no --> 42.3% YES

This is nearly an 8% pro-equality shift, and moves another low-30% presbytery into the low-40% pro-equality support category. Another success story. As with St. Augustine Presbytery above, note how the total number of support votes increased at the same time as the total number of "no" votes decreased significantly.

So if you want my summary scorecard for this group of 5 presbyteries, it would look like this:

Inland Northwest: fantastic (20% shift)
Memphis/Mis-South: disappointing, need to do better than this
Miami: disappointing, we can do better
St. Augustine: very good (9% shift)
Shenandoah: very good (8% shift)

No presbytery-level vote flips for this group of five (and I also didn't expect any).


My request / suggestion: This is just me asking this, not MLP, however if you're in a presbytery that hasn't voted yet, please find a few other equality supporters in your presbytery and do some get-out-the-vote work for pro-equality voting, no matter what type of presbytery you're in. The total nationwide "yes" vote count (aka "popular vote") matters, and you can increase that vote count wherever you are. In fact as we've seen, some of the best pro-equality shifts can happen within some of the most anti-equality presbyteries. And we've seen shifts of well above 10% come in for all types of presbyteries, so it can happen anywhere if you work at it.

The MLP 08-B resource kit doesn't appear to contain a specific get-out-the-vote (GOTV) tactics advice document, however if you're uncertain about how to do GOTV, don't worry, we can get you hooked up with the right people for some help. I bet that the team at MLP can assist with advice, or you can always email me and I can help get you in touch with some assistance. Nobody should sit around doing nothing simply because you're not sure what to do.