Voting in UUA Elections

Under the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) bylaws, congregations that have met the certification requirements will receive delegates that can vote in the election in three ways:

  • By voting online.
  • By sending delegates to vote in person at General Assembly (GA). All GA delegates who have voting credentials that were not used to vote online or by paper absentee will be eligible to vote in person.
  • By requesting and completing paper absentee ballots. For 2021, delegates unable to vote online may request a paper ballot by mailing the request to: UUA General Assembly, 24 Farnsworth St. Boston, MA 02210. Requests must include a copy of the delegate’s credential document and must be postmarked by June 1, 2021. Completed ballots must be received by June 14, 2021 or postmarked by June 12, 2021.

Congregations have wide discretion in determining whether and how to instruct their delegates. For example, a congregation could hold a congregational meeting to discuss the election and then could direct its delegates to vote for particular candidates. Or the congregation could appoint delegates and allow those delegates to vote their consciences.

UUA Elections FAQ

When Are UUA Elections Held?

  • Elections for members of the UUA Board of Trustees and elected boards, committees, and commissions are held at General Assembly every year, although the majority fall in odd-numbered years. The next regular election for UUA President will take place in June 2023, for a six-year term. The next election for UUA Moderator will take place in June 2025.

Who Can Vote, and How?

  • Delegates vote. Certified congregations are entitled to one member delegate for every 50 members (or fraction thereof), with a minimum of two member delegates per congregation.

  • In addition, the following religious professionals serving/affiliated with certified congregations may also be delegates:

    • Ministers in preliminary or full fellowship with the Association and employed at least half-time (including extension and interim ministers)

    • Emeritus/a ministers

    • Community ministers who maintain active involvement and affiliation with the congregation

    • Directors of religious education with Credentialed Religious Education – Master Level Status

  • Associate Member Organizations (UU Service Committee and UU Women’s Federation) may each appoint two voting delegates. Delegates must be a member of a Certified UU congregation.

  • UUA Board of Trustees members may vote in the election.

  • Congregations receive delegate credentials which allow delegates to vote for candidates in person at General Assembly or electronically before and during GA.

What if None of the Positions Are Contested?

  • If none of the open positions have more than one candidate, the election takes place automatically at General Assembly and there is no need to cast ballots.

Do I Need to Register for General Assembly to Vote in an Election?

  • You do not need to register for General Assembly to cast a vote in the election. Delegates who are not attending General Assembly may cast a ballot. However, there is no absentee voting/proxy voting on General Assembly business items. Delegates need to be registered and present to vote on business items.

How Do I Know Which Positions Are Open, and How Can I Be Nominated for One?

  • Candidates for all elected positions except Moderator and President are nominated by the UUA Nominating Committee. Information on what positions are due to be filled in a given year is available online as well as the Volunteer Leadership Application which you can submit if you’re interested in serving in any elected or appointed positions.

What About Being Nominated for Moderator or President?

  • The UUA Board of Trustees will nominate one or more candidates for Moderator for election at GA 2025. This includes the option of nominating two people to be elected together to serve as a Co-Moderator team.
  • A Presidential Search Committee, with both elected and Board-appointed members, will be formed soon, charged with nominating at least two candidates for President for election in 2023. Contact information will be available once the committee is active.

Are All UUA Volunteer Positions Elected?

  • No. The Appointments Committee of the Board recruits and recommends candidates for a range of board-appointed committees, as well as board appointed members of elected committees. For all board-appointed committees, terms are for two- year periods, which can be renewed up to three times for a maximum of eight years of service. You can submit an application for an appointed committee position using the same Volunteer Leadership Application as for an elected position. You may also recommend others for elected and appointed positions. Both the Nominating Committee and Appointments Committee are committed to seeking out candidates who reflect the full diversity of our Association.

Can I Run for an Office by Petition?

  • Yes you can, as long as you are a member of a certified UUA congregation. A nomination for any elective position other than Moderator or President. for any regular or special election, may be by petition signed by not less than fifty members of certified member congregations, with no more than ten signatures of members of any one congregation counted toward the required fifty. A separate petition, in form prescribed by the Secretary, shall be filed for each nomination not later than May 1 of the year of the election and not earlier than the preceding October 1. A petition for nomination to the Board of Trustees must designate the position number for which the person is being nominated. For information on how to assemble and submit a petition package, you can consult Nomination Petition Forms page.
  • A nomination for the office of Moderator or President, for a regular or special election, may be by petition signed by no fewer than fifty certified member congregations, including at least one congregation from three of the regions of the Association. A certified member congregation may authorize the signing of a petition only by vote of its governing board or by vote at a duly called meeting of its members. Petitions for Moderator or President must be filed with the Secretary of the Association, in such form as the Secretary may prescribe, not later than February 1 of the year of the election and not earlier than the preceding March. Petition forms are available online.

Where Do I Go for More Information About Nominations, Elections, and Voting?

  • You can find most information, including the election-related Bylaws and Rules, on the UUA website. You are also welcome to email elections@uua.org with any questions.