I believe the recent hoopla over voting was due to the WTS needing legal recognition and therefore mainly a financial concern.
The 1950 wt most definetly states that it is a violation of a divine command to vote. They also state that it is not fot them to tell a Christian what to do when they enter the booth. BUT THEY JUST DID IN THE SURROUNDING PARAGRAPHS. It is such double talk. It servers them well because they can say we don't forbid our members from voting but they teach their members that True Christians are forbidden from voting by God.
*** w50 11/15 pp. 445-447 Subjection to the Higher Powers ***
21 In view of not recognizing worldly political powers as the “superior authorities” ordained by God, but recognizing only God and Jesus Christ to be such now, the Christian witnesses conscientiously refrain from taking part in the politics of this world, yes, even from voting. This has been true of them from the first century on. Testifying to this fact, Ancient Times—A History of the Early World, by Jas. H. Breasted, Ph.D., LL.D., says, under the heading, “1070. Rome persecutes the early Christians,” the following: “The officers of government often found these early converts not only refusing to sacrifice to the emperor as a god but also openly prophesying the downfall of the Roman State. The early Christians were therefore more than once called upon to endure cruel persecution. Their religion seemed incompatible with good citizenship, since it forbade them to show the usual respect for the emperor and the government.”—Page 663, edition of 1916.
22 In some countries today the legislature wants to make all the adult citizens responsible for the government. To enforce the democratic way upon them they are required by law to vote in the national elections. Under such circumstances what are Christians to do, since they are under divine command to keep themselves unspotted from this world? By dedicating themselves wholly to God through Christ they have vowed their unswerving allegiance to the kingdom of God, and they cannot divide their allegiance. So how are they now to proceed? Can they register as qualified voters? Yes. The apostle Paul held onto his Roman citizenship and fought for its rights, even appealing to Caesar in defending his right to preach the gospel. In lands where military conscription is in force Jehovah’s witnesses register the same as all others within the age limits, and they write down their relationship to the matter. They remember how Joseph and Mary complied with Caesar’s decree and traveled to Bethlehem-Judah in order to be registered at their home town. (Luke 2:1-5, NW) But it is when these ministers of Jehovah’s Word are called up for induction into the army that then they present themselves and take their stand according to God’s Word and pay to him what belongs to him. Likewise where Caesar makes it compulsory for citizens to vote. After they have registered and when election day comes, they can go to the polls and enter the voting booths. It is here that they are called upon to mark the ballot or write in what they stand for. The voters do what they will with their ballots. So here in the presence of God is where his witnesses must act in harmony with his commandments and in accordance with their faith.
23 It is not our responsibility to instruct them what to do with the ballot. They must act in accord with their conscience as enlightened by the study of God’s Word. In lands where voting is not compulsory, the ministers of Jehovah’s Word remember that his people are theocratically organized. According to the divine law under which they are organized the popular vote of the majority does not put servants in office, but all appointments in the theocratic organization are from God and through those whom he puts in authority in his organization. Even in his visible organization the individual members of the congregation do not vote democratically and put qualified men into positions of overseers and ministerial servants by majority vote. No, but the appointments to all official positions of service are made by the spirit of God and through the governing body according to the Scriptural requirements. Even the governing body which make the appointments are under instructions from the “superior authorities”, God and his Christ. To them it is written: “Never lay your hands hastily upon any man; neither be a sharer in the sins of others; preserve yourself pure.” (1 Tim. 3:1-13 and 5:22, NW) So the ministers of Jehovah’s Word do not possess the vote within his organization. As for the governing body, it does not lay its hands hastily upon a consecrated person, lest it should become responsible for his sins in office due to a hasty appointment of an undependable, unqualified person.
24 Since they do not exercise the popular vote to put even consecrated servants into office even within the theocratic organization, they consider it improper to exercise the democratic vote by which unconsecrated persons are put into worldly political offices. They do not choose to share in the responsibility for the sins of such worldlings in governmental offices. They want to preserve themselves pure from this world. They abide by God’s appointments through his theocratic organization, and they accept his appointment of Jesus Christ to the kingship of the righteous new world.
THE AUTHORITIES ORDAINED BY GOD
25 Paul was a member of the governing body of the congregation of the first century. He gives the reason for being in subjection to the superior authorities, saying: “The existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God.” (Rom. 13:1, NW) How could this be true of worldly political governments? There those in official positions are put in by popular vote, by machine party-politics, by dictatorial seizure of power, by executive appointment, by hereditary law of a dynasty, by legislative action or parliamentary appointment. God is not manipulating worldly politics like a political boss. It is only within his theocratic organization that the existing authorities stand placed in various positions with relationship to one another by God. In the preceding chapter Paul writes: “Just as we have in one body many members, but the members do not all have the same function, so we, although many, are one body in union with Christ, but members belonging individually to one another.”—Rom. 12:4, 5, NW.
26 In an earlier letter to the congregation at Corinth Paul writes concerning the same theocratic body and says: “But now God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as he pleased. . . . God compounded the body, giving honor more abundant to the part which had a lack, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its members should have the same care for one another. Now you are Christ’s body, and members individually. And God has set the respective ones in the congregation, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then powerful works; then gifts of healings; helpful services, abilities to direct, different tongues.”—1 Cor. 12:12, 13, 18, 24, 25, 27, 28, NW.
27 Rightfully Jehovah God has reserved for himself the position of Supreme One of the “superior authorities”. He shares that position with no one else, trinitarians to the contrary. Whom, then, has he placed next highest with relation to himself? Jesus Christ, who proved his loyalty to his heavenly Father to a violent death in the midst of Satan’s hostile world. “Keep this mental attitude in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God. No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men. More than that, when he found himself in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient as far as death, yes, death on a torture stake. For this very reason also God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, and every tongue should openly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”—Phil. 2:5-11, NW.
28 Further testifying that the Most High God has made Jesus Christ one of the “superior authorities”, Paul writes: “It is according to the operation of the mightiness of his strength, with which he has operated in the case of the Christ when he raised him up from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name named, not only in this system of things, but also in that to come. He also subjected all things under his feet, and made him head over all things to the congregation, which is his body.” (Eph. 1:19-23, NW) “He is at God’s right hand, for he went his way to heaven, and angels and authorities and powers were made subject to him.”—1 Pet. 3:22, NW.
29 Since Jesus has thus been exalted next to God far above every other government in this world or in that which is to come, then God rightly commands us who adhere to his organization to be subject to Christ Jesus as the Head of the congregation which is his body. To picture this theocratic subjection of the congregation to its Head Christ Jesus, the Christian wives maintain themselves subject to their husbands. To show they are subject to the “superior authorities”, they do not usurp authority over the men in the congregation and set themselves up as teachers. (1 Cor. 14:33-35; 1 Tim. 2:11-13) When they receive an appointment through the theocratic organization and temporarily occupy the position of service that a man should carry out within the congregation, they subject themselves to the rule at 1 Corinthians