MSA, BEC to make changes in election process

The changes were proposed after judicial issues delayed this year's election.

The Missouri Students Association and the Board of Elections Commissioners are in the process of planning changes to the MSA and BEC bylaws regarding election procedures to prevent future incidents like those that occurred this year's presidential election.

"Operations is going to amend the bylaws and explore the ideas proposed at the meeting last Tuesday," MSA Senate Speaker Evan Wood said.

Operations Committee Chairman Justin Mohn said when making changes, the committee will mainly be concerned with changing procedures for the BEC and exempting certain offices from endorsing candidates running in an election.

Mohn said the BEC would still be allowed to delay the election by a majority vote, but the student court would have the power to veto that vote. The way the BEC handles infractions will be addressed as well.

"We're going to clarify that the BEC can levy infractions," Mohn said. "They'll need to give the slate notice of the infraction in a certain amount of time. The slate will have a certain amount of time to respond to the infraction."

BEC Chairman Jake Sloan said there needs to be changes made to both the MSA bylaws and BEC handbooks so they coincide with one another.

They clash when they list the procedures for different circumstances. Sloan also said such legal documents need clearer definitions.

“We need to put definitions in the handbook so we can know what intentional and negligent infractions are,” Sloan said. “We want to add those for us to use and the slates to use."

Wood said the process for handling infractions needs to be changed.

"We've been following traditions, but there is not a good process,” Wood said. “There is no strict process on levying infractions.”

Mohn said another practice that raised problems in the election was key MSA leaders publically and actively endorsing candidates. They will be examining the legality of such endorsements. Those unable to endorse a candidate will most

likely include the MSA president, vice president, senate speaker and the operations committee chairman.

“The tradition of these leaders not endorsing a candidate has been a long-standing one, so I don't anticipate much opposition to the measure in Senate,” Mohn said in an e-mail. “This doesn't so much represent a sweeping change as a return to a rule that we've had in the past.”

Mohn said banning endorsements from MSA leaders loses nothing of consequence.

He said it was argued in the meeting that endorsements happen all the time in the real world, but he said MSA is far from the real world.

“Our primary concern needs to be getting things done that benefit students, and that cause isn't best served when people use their office to endorse a candidate,” Mohn said in an e-mail.

Mohn said more research must be done before effectively deciding on what they want to ban in terms of endorsements. He said it will most likely involve public declarations by officers.

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