Questions cloud speaker vote

Ashlee Clark

Another officer has been elected to next fall’s Student Government Association, but the number of voters that participated may not be sufficient enough to uphold the decision.

The SGA congress elected Bowling Green sophomore Robert Watkins on Tuesday as next year’s speaker of the senate, a position created under the student government’s new constitution.

But there was some question as to whether there were enough votes for the election to be valid.

There were 17 out of 20 congress members present that voted for speaker of the senate.

Watkins received nine votes. Brittany Fausey, a junior from Jeffersonville, Ind., had eight votes.

It is not clear under new SGA constitution if a two-thirds majority of eligible voters or two-thirds of the total congress members is required to vote for the speaker of the senate, SGA Chief Justice Troy Ransdell said.

The issue will be discussed at today’s judicial council meeting, said Jessica Martin, SGA vice president of administration.

“I’m looking forward to getting a lot of people elected in the fall,” Watkins said.

The speaker has duties such as presiding over SGA meetings and serving as the coordinator of committees, according to SGA’s constitution.

Watkins, who is chair of the legislative research committee, wrote the constitution. It was passed last month in a student referendum.

The speaker will be responsible for calling special SGA meetings, establishing special committees, notifying the judicial council of SGA members with excessive absences and presiding over impeachment proceedings for judicial council members.

The number of votes cast didn’t account for two-thirds of the total members of SGA, Martin said.

But it did account for two-thirds of members who were eligible to vote, she said.

Three congress members that were present were unable to vote because of a ruling made by the judicial council last month stating that only members sworn in before the fifth meeting of the spring semester could vote for the speaker.

Martin said there could be a “semester of frustration” in the fall if everything is not resolved at the SGA meeting on Tuesday – the last of the school year.

“The speaker of the senate is a very important position to have and to have questions about who will be standing at the podium with gavel in hand, that is something we don’t need right now,” she said.

Fausey said she chose not to pursue a revision of the election because it was done “fair and square.” She said it is not her place to request a revision simply because she lost.

She said she would support another vote only if it was done “for the good of SGA” and not because she lost the election.

“I really wanted the position, but I stand firm to the democratic process,” she said.

Watkins said the speaker of the senate was intended to be chosen by a majority vote.

He said that is based on “parliamentary procedure coupled with the looseness of the new constitution.”

The new constitution is loosely written so it can be open for interpretation and change, he said.

Watkins said he looks forward to getting more people involved in SGA and collecting more student ideas as speaker.

Reach Ashlee Clark at [email protected]