Guidance on unit conventions
“It is expressly recorded in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Writings that these National Assemblies must be indirectly elected by the friends; that is, the friends in every country must elect a certain number of delegates, who in their turn will elect from among all the friends in that country the members of the National Spiritual Assembly.… These secondary electors will then, either through correspondence, or preferably by gathering together, and first deliberating upon the affairs of the Cause throughout their country… elect from among all the friends in that country nine who will be the members of the National Spiritual Assembly.”— Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í Administration, p. 39–40
“Again I earnestly appeal to every one of you, and renew my only request with all the ardor of my conviction, to make… yet another effort, this time more spontaneous and selfless than before, and endeavour to approach your task — the election of your delegates… — with that purity of spirit that can alone obtain our Beloved’s most cherished desire. Let us recall His explicit and often-repeated assurances that every Assembly elected in that rarified atmosphere of selflessness and detachment is, in truth, appointed of God…”— Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í Administration, p. 65
“He wishes to stress the importance of reminding the believers that they should make every possible effort to attend the meeting for the election of the State or Province delegates, in order to stimulate a larger group consciousness which will greatly facilitate the process of the believers becoming acquainted with each other, and provide an intermediary state — which will become increasingly valuable and necessary — between the local organization, represented by the group or Assembly, and the national collective action, represented by the activities of the Convention and the institution of the National Assembly.”— Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, 16 November 1943
“The House of Justice appreciates that many of the voters at a district election may have a limited acquaintance with the believers of the area, although naturally they will do all they can during the year to follow the news of the work of the Faith and the activities of their fellow believers. All that any voter can do is to vote for those among the believers who are known to him either personally or by reputation, trusting in God to produce ultimately the best result for the Faith.”— Written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 14 February 1982
“Indeed, one of the important functions of a Regional Convention, at which the delegates are elected, is for the delegates to consult with the believers present so that they may be familiar with their views and interests in preparation for their own participation at the National Convention.”— Written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 26 October 1983
“It is the hope of the Universal House of Justice that the implementation of [the electoral unit method of electing delegates to the National Convention] will promote Bahá’í solidarity, broaden the basis of representation at National Conventions and that thereby the work of the Faith in each country will be characterized by greater efficiency and enhanced harmony.”— Written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies, 21 July 1985
“One of the distinguishing features of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh is the Bahá’í Administrative Order, the nucleus and pattern of the future World Order He has promised. A fundamental aspect of the endeavours of the friends to upraise that Order is the election by believers in locations across the globe of their delegates to the National Convention, occasions which also allow for discussions regarding local and national affairs. These delegates, in turn, will “fulfil the functions of an enlightened, consultative and co-operative body that will enrich the experience, enhance the prestige, support the authority, and assist the deliberations of the National Spiritual Assembly”.…”— Written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies, 4 August 2016
“Since the inception of the new series of Plans aimed at the systematic acceleration of the process of entry by troops, the community of the Greatest Name has gained much insight about the evolution of the Administrative Order in light of the principles enshrined in the Writings and the precious experience related to growth that has been accumulated in cities, towns, and villages in the four corners of the earth. A well-ordered electoral process implemented in accordance with the Bahá’í Teachings is a key component of the healthy development of the institutions of the Faith. Unit conventions provide a venue to deepen the understanding of the friends about the unique nature of Bahá’í elections, and wholehearted participation in the election of delegates to the National Convention affords an opportunity for every responsible, conscientious believer to develop deeper bonds of love and enhance a spiritual connection with his or her National Spiritual Assembly. That the friends will come forward, in ever-increasing numbers, to perform this sacred obligation is the ardent hope of the Universal House of Justice….”— Written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies, 4 August 2016
In its letter dated 21 July 1985 to all National Spiritual Assemblies, the Universal House of Justice provided guidance regarding the election of delegates to a National Convention on the basis of electoral units, and thus introduced a uniform method of electing delegates to National Conventions throughout the world.
One of the signs of the breakdown of society in all parts of the world is the erosion of trust and collaboration between the individual and the institutions of governance. In many nations the electoral process has become discredited because of endemic corruption.
The Eleventh International Convention, recently concluded, offered all who were present a glimpse of the promise of Bahá’u’lláh to unite the peoples of the world. More than a thousand members of one hundred and fifty seven National Spiritual Assemblies attended, and nearly five hundred more, including those from an additional fourteen countries, participated in the election by mail.