Joseph Sell named new BEC chair

The confirmation came following the resignation of former chair Jessica Dennis over winter break.

Joseph Sell was confirmed as the new chair of the Missouri Students Association Board of Elections Commissioners in full Senate on Feb. 7.

His confirmation comes after former chair Jessica Dennis resigned due to personal reasons over winter break. The resignation of former speaker Hunter Windholz slowed down the process of appointing a replacement for Dennis.

“I had a request from members in the Senate to come in and fill the seat after the BEC chair had left,” Sell said. “I said sure because I had experience as the BEC vice chair, and I felt I could I do a fair job in the rushed situation that we are in.”

Berry Brooks was selected to be vice BEC chair but will not be officially confirmed until the next Senate meeting on Feb. 21 due to absence. Sell hopes to appoint a second vice chair as well.

Despite appointing a new chair in the middle of a term, MSA members said they anticipate a smooth transition.

“I don’t think having a new chair will make all that big of a difference,” said Mathew Swan, Senate Operations Committee chair. “The fall and spring elections are so different. Senate elections are hardly contentious, and presidential elections in the past have been.”

The new BEC elections handbook, bill 57-28, was passed in Senate on Wednesday.

The handbook proposed an amendment capping campaign spending at $1,000. The Senate, however, later voted to remove it.

“There were some big changes from the handbook that was sent out in the Monday report and the one we were expected to vote on during full Senate,” Sen. Abigail Shaw said. “Some of the changes caused a lot of disagreement. Personally, I think it would have been fine had we gotten the full handbook on Monday, but due to the new BEC chair appointment and a few other small issues, we didn’t get it on time.”

The handbook also set the MSA election for later in March. The election was previously held the first week of March.

“The election was moved to accommodate the time that was required to appoint a new BEC chair following the unexpected resignation of the last,” Senate Speaker Taylor Tutin said.

Despite the changes in the handbook, Senate members are confident in the abilities of Sell to carry out all necessary duties of BEC chair.

“Joe is an incredibly qualified candidate because of his previous experience with MSA and MSA elections,” Tutin said. “His literacy of the bylaws and the BEC handbook in addition to his ability to stay objective in stressful situations will lead the student body through the historically tumultuous election season.”

Edited by Skyler Rossi |

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