New appointed BEC chairs seek to reform election process

BEC Chairwoman Bridget Everson: “We’ve been given an opportunity to restore faith in MSA.”

Board of Elections Commissioners Vice Chairwoman Bridget Everson was appointed BEC chairwoman in Missouri Students Association Operations Committee on Tuesday night.

The BEC has received backlash this year after a controversial election cycle. At one point, former Campus and Community Relations Committee Chairman Alex Higginbotham petitioned to impeach former BEC Chairwoman Emma Henderson for what senators saw as a lack of action on campaign infractions on her part.

Everson said she had several ideas for reforms to the BEC, including a requirement that candidates register all campaign works as a part of their slate and a clause that would make lying to the BEC grounds for immediate expulsion from the election.

Another policy she and Senate Speaker Kevin Carr wanted to implement was a policy that would allow candidates to be impeached after the end of the election for violations that came to light afterward. Everson said she was unsure whether that policy would need to come from the BEC Handbook or the MSA Bylaws.

She also wanted to improve communication between the chairwoman and the vice chairs. She said during her confirmation in the Operations Committee that she would allow the vice chairs to override her decision if the two of them came to an agreement without her.

The Operations Committee confirmed Taylor Cofield and Shannon Turner as vice chairs. In their confirmation, Cofield and Turner both expressed frustration with how Senate handled the removal of Haden Gomez and Chris Hanner.

“As a student who has not previously been involved with MSA, it was actually rather disappointing to see such a professional organization to not be acting professionally,” Turner said. “Like Taylor said, it was more of a personal attack than a professional critique of the slate.”

The plan for the election, which Carr posted in the MSA Senate Facebook group Jan. 28, provides for a three-week cycle, while the previous lasted over a month.

“I think that the consequences of the events of Haden and Chris’s (resignation) is going to have an effect on the election,” Carr said when asked how he thought the compressed schedule would affect the election. “I think the BEC and Student Court failing to make the appropriate decisions when necessary had an effect on any future elections in upcoming history.”

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