Nashville Two-Stage Election- Ridvan 2024

April 14th Election Results: Elected Delegates

Mansour Eshraghi
Shariat Belyad
Mahnaz Armakan
Behzad Akbari
Regan Williams
Gina Mendello
Richard Bartelt
Shahrouz Eshraghi Tehrani
Yasha Darakshanian
Karen Streets-Anderson
Jim Traub
Nika Ferdowsi
Bayan Jalalizadeh
Faran Ferdowsi
Robin Oatis Ballew
Maxcia Lizarraga
Kimia Kline
Farbod Farzan
Laura Ware


Two-Stage Electoral Process Video


Importance of the Administrative Order

“To dissociate the administrative principles of the Cause from the purely spiritual and humanitarian teachings would be tantamount to a mutilation of the body of the Cause, a separation that can only result in the disintegration of its component parts, and the extinction of the Faith itself. “

Letter from Shoghi Effendi, dated February 27, 1929, in The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh Selected Letters, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh: Sources of the Bahá’í World Order, p. 5

Role of the Local Spiritual Assembly

The responsibilities of the Local Spiritual Assembly include promoting the spiritual education of children and young people, strengthening the spiritual and social fabric of Bahá’í community life, assessing and utilizing the community’s resources, and ensuring that the energies and talents of community members contribute towards progress. It is also responsible for organizing the Nineteen Day Feast, which is the cornerstone of Bahá’í community life.

In addition, the Assembly is intimately concerned with the wellbeing of the wider community. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has written that the discussions of a Local Spiritual Assembly  “must all be confined to spiritual matters that pertain to the training of souls, the instruction of children, the relief of the poor, the help of the feeble throughout all classes in the world, kindness to all peoples, the diffusion of the fragrances of God and the exaltation of His Holy Word.”[1]


“Once in session, it behoveth them to converse, on behalf of God’s servants, upon the affairs and interests of all. They should, for instance, accord precedence to the teaching of the Cause, inasmuch as it is a matter of supreme importance, so that all people, even as a single soul, may enter within the Tabernacle of divine Unity, and all humanity may become even as a single body. In like manner, they should consider such matters as the refinement of manners, the preservation of human dignity, the development of cities, and the polity which God hath made a bulwark for His lands and a fortress for His people.”

Bahá’u’lláh, from a Tablet translated from the Persian and Arabic, in The Local Spiritual Assembly: A Compilation, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, no. 15

“As a Spiritual Assembly, you are charged with fostering an environment in which the believers thrive—where meaningful and distinctive conversations are earnestly pursued, where opportunities for them to render useful service abound, and where their efforts are sustained by the support of Bahá’í institutions and agencies. Each of your members holds a personal responsibility for bringing about such conditions. Each is accountable to the Abhá Beauty for his or her efforts to put aside all thought of self and labor solely for the Cause of God.”

Letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, dated November 28, 2012, to an National Spiritual Assembly

How to Vote

“The electors … must prayerfully and devotedly and after meditation and reflection elect faithful, sincere, experienced, capable and competent souls who are worthy of membership”.

 Letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, dated July 1, 1943, to the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran—translated from the Persian, in Compilation of Compilations, vol. 1, p. 317

“… in the time of election, the friends should be in the mood of prayer, disinterestedness and detachment from worldly motives.”

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, dated June 7, 1924; compilation: Lights of Guidance)

“To be able to make a wise choice at the election time, it is necessary for him to be in close and continued contact with all of his fellow-believers, to keep in touch with all local activities, be they teaching, administrative or otherwise, and to fully and whole-heartedly participate in the affairs of the local as well as national committees and assemblies in his country. It is only in this way that a believer can develop a true social consciousness, and acquire a true sense of responsibility in matters affecting the interests of the Cause.”

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, February 4, 1935)

“If any discrimination is at all to be tolerated, it should be a discrimination not against, but rather in favour of the minority, be it racial or otherwise….”

~ Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, par. 53, p. 35

“They should disregard personalities and concentrate their attention on the qualities and requirements of office, without prejudice, passion or partiality. The Assembly should be representative of the choicest and most varied and capable elements in every Bahá’í community.”

(From a letter of the Guardian to an individual believer, August 11, 1933: The Spiritual Character of Bahá’í Elections, p. 3)

Qualifications to Consider

” …it is incumbent upon the chosen delegates to consider without the least trace of passion and prejudice, and irrespective of any material consideration, the names of only those who can best combine the necessary qualities of unquestioned loyalty, of selfless devotion, of a well-trained mind, of recognized ability and mature experience.” 

(Shoghi Effendi, from a letter dated 3 June 1925 to the delegates and visitors at the convention of the United States and Canada, published in “Bahá’í Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932”)

Map of Electoral Units

The Delegate Election for the Local Spiritual Assembly Takes Place Sunday, April 14th at 11:00 AM.

Electoral Unit 1
Zip code: 37013 (mostly east of I-24) (see also unit 2)
Election Location: Home of Mahnaz Armakan (hosted by Shariat Belyad)
1613 Bridgecrest Dr, Antioch, TN 37013  (Shariat 615-462-1504)
Chair: Azita Gharai
Chief Teller: Linda Hendrickson
Tellers: Shariat Belyad, Mansour Eshraghi
Unit 1 Election List Here

Electoral Unit 2
Zip code: 37013 (mostly west of I-24) (see also unit 1)
Election Location: Home of Behzad Akbari (615-831-1481)
5728 Collinwood Ct, Antioch, TN 37013
Chair: Regan Williams
Chief Teller: Jordan Cote
Tellers: Aaron Crossley, Rouya Hamidi Hesari
Unit 2 Election List Here

Electoral Unit 3
Zip code: 37211 (upper South Nashville) (see also units 4&5)
Election Location: Home of Naghmeh Khastar (615-973-0993)
4852 Torbay Dr, Nashville, TN 37211
Chair: Shiva Samsun
Chief Teller: Gina Mendello
Tellers: Rick Bartelt, Mahboubeh Aktarkhavari
Unit 3 Election List Here

Electoral Unit 4
Zip Code: 37211 (mid South Nashville) (see also units 3&5)
Election Location: Home of Hadi Ahmadzadeghan (615-972-7881)
5621 Montelle Ln, Nashville, TN 37211
Chair: Yasha Darakshanian
Chief Teller: Noelani Dennis
Tellers: Shahrouz Eshraghi, Atayeh Esmaeilpour Arabi
Unit 4 Election List Here

Electoral Unit 5
Zip Code: 37211 (lower South Nashville) (see also units 3&4)
Election Location: Home of Jim Traub (Tracy Tveit 615-243-1919)
6008 Bradford Hills Dr, Nashville, TN 37211
Chair: Erica Hayes Schultz
Chief Teller: Tracy Tveit
Tellers: Nolan Streets-Anderson, Abdollah Akbari
Unit 5 Election List Here

Electoral Unit 6
Zip Codes: 37027, 37203, 37210, 37212
Election Location: Home of Mohammad Reza Heydari (Reza 615-294-0361)
6020 Brentwood Chase Dr, Brentwood, TN 37027
Chair: Nika Ferdowsi
Chief Teller: Bahman Yousefzadeh
Tellers: Shayda Azamian, Rezvan Moosavi
Unit 6 Election List Here

Electoral Unit 7
Zip Codes: 37205, 37209, 37215, 37218, 37221
Election Location: Home of Bahman & Shanaz Barati (Shanaz 615-818-3207)
1900 Liberty Square, Nashville, TN 37215
Chair: Andrew Ballew
Chief Teller: Yasaman Nasiri
Tellers: Giarchery Lizarraga, Ruby Rucker
Unit 7 Election List Here

Electoral Unit 8
Zip Codes: 37015, 37072, 37080, 37115, 37189, 37206, 37207, 37208, 37228
Election Location:  Home of Kimia and Kenny Kline (Kimia 615-306-3341)
2213B Carter Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Chair: Susan Crossley
Chief Teller: Joseph Bogan
Tellers: Adam Crossley, Patrick Crossley
Unit 8 Election List Here

Electoral Unit 9
Zip Codes: 37076, 37138, 37214, 37216, 37217
Election Location: Home of Alison & Farbod Farzan (Farbod 512-521-1759)
1700 Bondurant St, Old Hickory, TN 37138
Chair: Charlene Cage
Chief Teller: Sue Senchuk
Tellers: Mike Spencer, Foad Sabet Hematabadi
Unit 9 Election List Here

Absentee Voting Online (via OBS)

Go to:  https://www.obsbahai.org/

5 Easy Steps to Cast Ballot Online 2024 (Persian) (1)

Absentee Voting by Paper Ballot

1. Write the names of two delegates from your electoral unit on your ballot.

2. Place the ballot in a smaller inner envelope with no marking that can identify the voter.

3. Seal the ballot envelope and place it in the larger outer envelope.

4. Write your name and address in the upper left corner of the outer envelope as the sender of the letter. Add your Baha’i ID number next to your name if you know it. Also, be sure to add your electoral unit number on the outer envelope.

5. Address the outer envelope to: Nashville Bahá’í Center, 1556 Bell Road, Nashville, TN 37211.

Example of outer envelope

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 What is this new system all about?
We will elect two (or three) delegates who will then elect the Nashville Spiritual Assembly.

 So just two or three people are going to elect the whole assembly?
No, the city has been divided into nine electoral units, and each unit will elect two delegates (and one unit will elect 3), for a total of 19 delegates.  These 19 delegates will elect the local assembly.

 Oh. Why are we doing this?
The Universal House of Justice has set this in motion, similar to the way Abdu’l-Baha arranged for the election of the Tehran Spiritual Assembly over a hundred years ago.

 So we can elect our two delegates from among any Baha’i in good standing in Nashville, right?
Not exactly. You can only elect your two delegates from within your own electoral unit.

Do the nineteen elected delegates have to elect the assembly from people in their own electoral units?
No, they can elect anyone from within the whole community who is eligible to be elected.

 But how will I know which Baha’is I can vote for? I don’t know where people live?
Each voter will be provided a list of names within your particular local electoral unit (see the links for to the voting list for each unit above).

 Well, that will make it easier! I only have to know about 50 people to choose from instead of over 500 people! So, that is what we will do at Ridvan! Quite a difference!

 Well, actually it will be BEFORE Ridvan on Sunday, April 14 at 11:00am

On Ridvan, the evening of April 19th, the elected delegates will gather together and then elect the Spiritual Assembly.

 Can we still use absentee ballots, or only on-line ballot system?  
You can vote on-line via OBS (starting Mar 23) or send or drop-off a paper absentee ballot. OR you can vote in-person.

 Where, at the Baha’i Center?
No, the Spiritual Assembly have appointed a host for each of the nine electoral units. A gathering will be held on Sunday, April 14th at 11:00am at the host’s home to have prayers, vote, consult, and enjoy fellowship.

Can you vote online using a cell phone?

Can I vote online on the day of the delegate election (April 14th)? 
You can vote online at the election up until the Tellers open the election and leave to count the votes.

I didn’t get a paper ballot in the mail. How can I get one?
You can pick one up from the Baha’i Center on a Sunday morning or you can request one be mailed to you by emailing nashvilleassembly@nashvillebahai.org or calling and leaving a message at 615-333-2242.

How old do you have to be to  participate in the election?
18 years old to vote. 21 years old to be elected.

I’ve never voted online before. Is there any way I can get help doing that?
On Sunday, April 7th from 9:30-12:00, you can come to the Baha’i Center and youth with computers will be there to assist you in voting online.

More questions? Email: nashvilleassembly@nashvillebahai.org