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Voting records not online as students cast SA ballots

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In violation of a transparency bylaw, Student Association senators’ voting records were not public on the website during the election last week.

The bylaw states that record of senators’ votes and any justifications they provide must be available to the public and displayed on the SA website.

However, the creation of the Information Technology department this year has meant re-working the website’s infrastructure and organization. IT director Joel Duran spent last semester making infrastructure changes to get the website to a point where he can now upload documents.

Last month Duran uploaded the most recent senate constitution and bylaws. He said that he could upload other information and documents as soon as he had them.

On why the voting records were not online, Senate Chair Jarrett Altilio said, “I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault in particular. I just think it’s one of those things that SA as a whole has neglected over the last few years.”

When pressed on whether he has sent any voting records to Duran to upload, Altilio said no.

“Yeah, that’s something I just haven’t sent over to him.”

Without the voting records, there is no immediately accessible way to see what each senator has voted for.

Students would have to reach out to senators and ask about their records or stop by the SA office. To see the records, students would have to ask Altilio for them.

Rules Committee Chairman Brandon Holdridge said, “I’d rather have the voting records up there, but it hasn’t been happening.”

Holdridge was not aware that Altilio had not sent the voting records to Duran.

Duran explained that he hopes to have all documents uploaded before his term as IT director is over. Last Friday, senate secretary Emma Benz sent over all the minutes to Duran.

In terms of streamlining the process of uploading documents, Duran indicated the benefit of finding a way for Altilio to upload them.

“It shouldn’t be too hard for him to do once we find a way to do it,” Duran said.

Presidential candidate and chief of staff Langie Cadesca emphasized the importance of having the voting records online.

“This has been a problem throughout this whole entire year,” Cadesca said. “I know that Juju [SA President Jerlisa Fontaine] and our IT director have been working with the senate and has been pushing on them to indeed make those voting records public.”

Patrick Carroll, deputy comptroller and vice presidential candidate on the opposing ticket, also emphasized the importance of students knowing what their elected officials are voting for.

“I think there are a bunch of things that we voted on that students were very interested in as we were going around campaigning for votes—the conference bill being one of them,” he said, referring to the legislation that requires more oversight on conferences. “So I think that voters would have liked to know where we stood on that.”

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Elise Coombs, a Syracuse native, is the editor-in-chief of the Albany Student Press. She is the co-Vice President of the UAlbany Mock Trial team, a member of Presidential Honors Society, and a peer mentor for the pre-law section of Writing and Critical Inquiry. After her time at UAlbany, she plans to go to law school and become a First Amendment lawyer.

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