FOR THE first time at the General Synod, when it meets in London next week, members will cast their more important votes electronically. Simple votes will still be made by a show of hands, but when numbers have to be counted, an electronic handset will be used.
This will mean an end to waiting while Synod staff count up to 400 or more raised hands, and to members filing out through the lobbies as the Houses of Bishops, Clergy, and Laity are counted separately.
The new system is part of the refurbishment of the Church House Assembly Hall, completed last year.
Synod members will have to collect an electronic voting card and a handset from a charging rack. When a vote is called, the card must be inserted into the handset and
the member must enter a randomly
generated number that will be displayed on a screen. Voting takes place without members having to move.
After the session, lists of how members voted will be published.
William Fittall, the secretary general, said there had been few objections to this change, although some members had wanted to keep a division through the lobbies for really important occasions, and others regretted the passing of an opportunity to have a brief chat after long and arduous debates.