SGA votes to permit electronic voting after controversy

The+Appalachian+Online

The Appalachian Online

Madeline Ward

The Student Government Association passed a bill Sept. 26 that will permit the SGA Senate to use electronic iClickers as a means for voting, replacing the current method in which senators vote by voicing “yea” or “nay.” iClickers allow for quicker, more efficient results but have a controversial past in Appalachian’s SGA.

A bill allowing senators to use iClickers for a trial period of only one month, equal to four Senate meetings, was passed during the spring semester of 2013. When iClickers were once again used during the 2015-2016 academic year, the bill had expired and no further authorization to use the devices was given.

The use of the iClickers in that year was unconstitutional and therefore, all bills passed using the electronic voting method are themselves unconstitutional.

Current SGA administration will not void those bills. Walt Grayson, SGA director of legislative operations, said that senators at the time did not realize the illegitimate use of iClickers.

“The will of the students at the time should not be subverted due to mistakes made by the administration,” Grayson said.

The Rick Hamrick Administration was condemned for disregarding voting procedures and misleading its senators.

The concept of using iClickers was reintroduced this year and was passed under The Alternative Voting Authorization Act. SGA has returned to the ease and accuracy that electronic voting provides but has now done so constitutionally.

SGA already owns a sufficient amount of iClickers and will be able to provide one to each senator free of charge.

In previous usage, iClickers allowed voters to remain anonymous, but the SGA plans to implement voting records for current and future senators.

Senators debated a potential amendment to its new bill on Tuesday. It was suggested that the iClickers should not be used during possible impeachment votes, as it was reasoned that senators should not “hide behind their clickers” nor be influenced by their peers when casting such an important vote.

The pending amendment was withdrawn when a majority of senators expressed that the opposition to using iClickers for impeachment could be applied to voting on any important decision, and that they should not be barred from using iClickers in any situation.

Senators are permitted to use iClickers for all votes in the future. Those who wish to witness the voting process and other SGA matters are encouraged to attend senate floor meetings, which take place in the Linville Falls in the student union, room 226 at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and are always open to the public.

 

Story by; Madeline Ward, News Reporter