Editorial: MSA transparency is necessary and long overdue
Making the move to publish voting records online is much-needed.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Maneater editorial board.
Aug. 30, 2016
Every Missouri Students Association election cycle, candidates seem to promise to increase transparency, and it seems that it might finally be on the way. MSA Senate is making a push to publish all voting records online.
Spearheaded by social media and technologies coordinator Riley de Leon, MSA will begin publishing voting records online more consistently as a part of their website overhaul. This move increases the transparency of the largest student government on campus and will keep its elected student officials accountable for their actions.
“The decision, ultimately, to post the voting records is more of an accountability check,” de Leon said. “It ensures that we are doing our jobs, and that people see that.”
De Leon is making a change that should have been made years ago. There has been a section of the MSA website for voting records, but posting slowed at the beginning of last semester. What was posted was separated by gaping holes in information.
Publicizing the voting records not only lets students see what decisions their senators actually make, but it will also allow them to make more informed choices about candidates in the future. For example, anyone voting in an MSA presidential election will be able to see the voting history of the candidates who were previously involved in Senate to get an idea of what they really stand for.
Making voting records more accessible will also make senators publicly responsible for their votes. Senators will be forced to make more careful and educated votes with the knowledge that someone could see their decision at any given time. If MSA senators don’t want their name attached to a vote, they should not have joined MSA in the first place.
Allowing students to know in an easily accessible way what is going on in MSA Senate is also a way to keep Senate concentrated on important campus issues and keep out unnecessary legislation. Legislation like debating who would win in a battle of Batman versus Superman makes a mockery out of MSA and makes the student government appear unprofessional. General knowledge of what is coming to the floor will hopefully keep discussions like this out of the conversation.
Public voting records would also end the possibility of secret ballots. Secret ballots allow senators to cast votes anonymously and without being held to their decisions. Having consistent records would prevent this practice and keep all votes fair and public in the future.
This is coming as a good sign of faith from MSA. In a time when trust in the organization has dwindled because of last year’s presidential election, releasing public voting records demonstrates that MSA is trying to win back and keep the trust of the student body. This is the time for MSA to be transparent and stay transparent.