As part of our theme for this issue, we are focusing on building community, creating inclusiveness, and living in the Company of the Holy—the Sadh Sangat. How timely is the announcement by the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation (SSSC) regarding expanding the electorate!
This new procedure is an attempt to include some of our long-standing sangat members who are also impacted by the SSSC’s decisions. As Ministers, we play a vital role in this new voter approval process. Consequently, I want to give you some history and background as to how this process evolved.
Reclaiming Our Dharma
After the lengthy lawsuit and trial that allowed us to reclaim the administration of our Dharma, the judge’s findings regarding the standing and the Prayer for Relief resulted in the following groups being eligible to vote in the initial election of the SSSC Board:
· Ministers of Sikh Dharma International in Good Standing from 2011-12 or 2012-13;
· Active International Khalsa Council members (as of September 2009);
· Siblings of Destiny Meeting attendees; and
· Legal Fund Supporters
For the 2015 election, the electorate consisted of Sikh Dharma International Ministers who were in Good Standing 14 days prior to the start of voting and voters who voted in the initial Board election.
For subsequent elections, the eligible electorate was to be only Sikh Dharma International Ministers in Good Standing 90 days prior to the start of voting. There was concern from some individuals that limiting the voting pool to only Ministers in Good Standing might undermine the trust that this process was fair and representative of the will of the Sangat.
Defining the Electorate
Discussions took place during the 2017 International Khalsa Council meetings regarding this situation. The result was the establishment of a committee entitled: “Expanding the Electorate Task Force,” later to be renamed “Defining the Electorate Task Force.” This was a huge undertaking and required a great deal of time, discussion, and deliberation.
Consequently, the SSSC decided for the 2017 election that the electorate would remain the same as that of the 2015 election, with slight modifications regarding dates. This would give the Task Force and the Khalsa Council 2 ½ years to consider more long-term options for defining the electorate by the 2020 election.
A Motion for Advisement
The Task Force put forth a Motion for Advisement to the SSSC that was approved by the members of the International Khalsa Council at the September 2018 meetings. The Motion of Advisement was approved by the SSSC Board of Trustees on December 5, 2018. Please review the new voter procedure.
The reason Ministers play such an important role in this new process is that a candidate for the electorate who is not a Minister or an International Khalsa Council member needs three recommendations from Ministers in Good Standing or active Khalsa Council members who know them and can freely recommend them as eligible voters.
We are being asked as Ministers to serve in this new capacity to help ensure a responsible, committed voting electorate. The application will be available on June 1. Please take a moment to review the Voter Application to review the questions being asked of the candidate.
For the 2020 SSSC Board of Trustees elections, the electorate will be composed of:
· Sikh Dharma Ministers in Good Standing
· Active International Khalsa Council members
· Members who apply and qualify through the new voter approval process
The mission statement for the SSSC (which can be found on the SSSC website) states:
“With the guidance of God and the grace of the Guru it is the mission of the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation to protect, preserve, and cultivate the prosperity of the constituent community and its assets; listen to, serve, and elevate the constituent community; support the non-profit and for-profit entities and the family of constituent communities; and live to and hold the values of the teachings of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib and the Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi Ji: selfless service, compassion, kindness, honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, and Guru-inspired consciousness.”
The electorate will be voting for members of our community to serve on this Board. Hopefully, this new process will be a step towards more inclusiveness in our voter pool, as we continue to grow our global community of Sadh Sangat, living in the Company of the Holy.
Wahe Guru Ji ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji ki Fateh!
SS Dr. Sat-Kaur Khalsa
Secretary of Religion
THE SECRETARY OF RELIGION
SS Dr. Sat Kaur Khalsa has served as Secretary of Religion since 1991 and was ordained as a Sikh Dharma Minister in 1975. As Secretary of Religion, Dr. Sat Kaur oversees and is ultimately responsible for the delivery of the functions of this Office. Dr. Sat Kaur is a long-time member of the International Khalsa Council and the Khalsa Council Executive Committee. She maintains a full-time psychotherapy private practice in Santa Monica, California and Santa Fe, New Mexico, counseling individuals, couples, and families to support their personal and spiritual growth. She is a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher, a facilitator of White Tantric Yoga®, and a published author.