Canadian Anglicans pick archbishop through first electronic election

Posted: Friday, May 24, 2002

MONTREAL (AP) -- Anglican Church of Canada delegates chose a new archbishop through e-mails and faxes in what's thought to be world Anglicanism's first electronic election.

Naturally, the result was announced via e-mail.

Montreal's Bishop Andrew Hutchison won a first-ballot victory to become the leader of churches in Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. He succeeds Arthur Peters, who retired in February.

Church law requires election within six months of a retirement but the next regular synod meeting was not scheduled until the fall. Since a special session would have cost $20,000, a tech-minded priest suggested the e-election.

Only three of the 31 delegates failed to vote. Bishop Donald Harvey of St. John's, Newfoundland, did not participate and protested that the voting method abandoned the secret ballot. He wanted sealed ballots sent by conventional mail.

Voters were given a window of two days in which to submit choices by e-mail or fax to two officials, the only people to know who voted for whom.



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