Undergraduate Student Government failed to pass a resolution Wednesday night to remove the secret vote from its Standing Rules of the General Assembly. The vote to end secret ballots was cast using the secret ballot.
A secret ballot is a voting method that prevents the public from viewing the vote of each individual member of the General Assembly. According to standing rules, if a motion for “a more stringent method of voting” is requested by a general assembly member, the chair — Vice President Sophie Chang — must comply.
The vote stemmed from a resolution made in response to a January secret ballot used for a campus divestment issue.
On Jan. 24, a resolution that allows USG to create a committee of senators to investigate Ohio State’s investment in companies that might be linked to domestic human rights violations passed by vote of secret ballot.
The resolution to stop secret ballots was sponsored by Nick Davis, a fourth-year in natural resource management.
“It is the duty of all elected officials, including us here in the USG Senate Chamber, to be open, honest, and transparent,” Davis said in a speech during the meeting. “We were elected to represent our fellow students. They elected us to listen to their concerns, vote based on our constituencies, not our own interests, and do what is right and what is best. Like with any elected official, they deserve to know how we voted.”
The resolution failed with five members of the General Assembly voting in favor. Spoken support seemed to come only from the legislations’ sponsors.
During the General Assembly session, the opposition passionately explained why it wanted to keep the stringent voting method as an option to protect the safety and mental health of those voting from public backlash.
“Going off the events that have occurred in this chamber before, I really think that some of the senators might be put at a risk if this is passed,” Maria Humayun, a second-year in international studies and public affairs, said. “I really think we need to be focusing on our well-being and our safety and our mental health and not putting ourselves in situations where we could be attacked.”
This is the first failed resolution in the 2017-18 General Assembly.