The Theosophical Society (Adyar)

President Elections 2008

by Editor

Voting Attendance

According to the Theosophical Society membership statistics for the year 2007 the Society had 29,014 members, and according to the Voting Results issued by the Election Committee there were “only”* 20,724 members eligible to vote. In this Voting Results there are missing numbers of members eligible to vote for A. Central (El Salvador), Canada, Mexico and Togo. As in Canada, and most probably in Togo too, elections weren’t executed in present additional statistics of voting results numbers of members in these two countries were left out, but there were included numbers of members who actually attended the voting in El Salvador and Mexico. In that way we come to the number of 20,879 members eligible to vote, what is 71, 9 % of all members of the TS. As votes were received from 12,993 members of the Society this number represents 62, 2 % of members eligible to vote and 44, 8 % of all members of the Theosophical Society.

Voting attendance in small sections (less than 100 members) was as a rule high (between 70 and 100%) with some exemptions (Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Japan, Austria, Belgium and Greece) where it was around 50 % and in Scotland where it was only 36, 9 %.

In middle sections (between 100 and 500 members) voting attendance was between 55 and 70 %, with some exemptions: Africa West (22, 9 %) and Iceland (16, 1 %) - the least voting attendance at all - and Singapore (95, 5 %) - the highest.

While in big sections (more than 500 members) of “western” world voting attendance was around 50 % ( USA - 44, 7 %, Australia - 44, 9 %, New Zealand - 50 %, England - 51 %), with exemption of Italy where it was only 39, 7 %, in Brazil it was 66, 3 % and in India 75, 5 %.

*Quite big difference of 8,135 between the total number of members and those eligible to vote is most probably due to certain number of new members and those who didn’t pay the annual dues. It would be interesting to find out the exact numbers and the reasons why there is such big number of those who are not in good standing.

Distribution of votes

It is visible at first sight that there was great polarization of votes in favor of one or the other candidate in majority of sections with few rare exemptions where distribution of votes was more balanced: Ivory Coast (4 : 6), Dominican Republic (16 : 14), Japan (11:10), Australia and New Zealand (60 % : 40 %), Scotland (18 : 16). This polarization is most probably the result of the activation of sections’ leaderships in support of one or the other candidate and of the fact that John Algeo symbolized strivings for certain change in the Society, while Radha Burnier symbolized preservation of status quo.

John Algeo got majority of votes in South Africa, Cuba, and USA, in smaller sections of Central and South America and Asia, in Australia and New Zealand and in almost all European sections. While for Radha Burnier voted prevalently members in rest of Africa and in bigger sections of Central and South America and Asia, especially in India where she got 90 % of all votes. And as votes of India represent 53 % of all distributed votes it is obvious that it can not be elected any candidate who does not get decisive support in India. In rest of the world voters gave their vote prevalently to John Algeo (60 %).

Voting Abstention

As each member of the Theosophical Society eligible to vote get voting ballot by mail at her/his address the voting abstention at present President Elections of 37, 8 % is relatively high. Although it is hard to speculate about the reasons for such abstention I will anyway try to find some of them.

As voting attendance was less or around 50 % in USA, Australia, New Zealand and Europe where John Algeo was prevalently voted for it can be assumed that one of the reasons for abstention was that none of the candidates (as both are actual top officers of the Society) represented a promise for more radical change in the Society.

The second reason is probably the fact that votes outside India can not play decisive part in the election of the TS’ President and therefore many members feel that their vote does not count.

The third reason can be a feeling among members of some sections that they are not involved in the work of the Society to a sufficient degree or not at all, that sections’ officers are somehow alienated from the rest of membership and that they feel that they don't have any influence on the section’s and overall policy of the Society.

The fact that the elected President does not enjoy the majority support outside India should represent a warning that in the Society some necessary changes are eminent and that there is an urgency to find such solutions which will find consensus of majority of the Society’s membership.

Voting Results and related documents
Additional Statistics

Last update: January 2009
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