ASB Voting Records and Transparency

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ASB Voting Records and Transparency

Lawrence Fan

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With its decisions having such a significant impact on the students, transparency within the Associated Student Body (ASB) is crucial to maintain an open connection with the student population. A growing number of students have recently called out the secretive fashion in which decisions are made, urging ASB members to release their voting records. This means that students would know how each member voted on specific issues regarding the school, giving students a better understanding of each individual’s viewpoints. As the votes result in immediate effects throughout the school, voting records within the ASB must be completely publicized.
The ASB consists of an executive team and the president and vice president of each class, who selects a large number of commissioners. Its members, specifically selected to their various positions, are trusted with most non-academic portions of the school, including managing clubs, school events, and social media. However, with its authority also comes a hefty load of responsibilities, including, in conjunction with other roles, the burden of satisfying the student population.
Acting as a government body, the ASB is established to attend to the needs of its citizens, in this case, the students of Cupertino High School. Its members are public servants with a duty to represent the student body, but how can they truly vouch for the interests and concerns of peers when they withhold their voting records from the very people they represent?
The case is simple: because the ASB votes on matters that directly affect the students, they have a right to know how their peers voted. Publicizing voting records is essential for members of the ASB to be held accountable for their decisions. Presently, the only available information comes from rhetoric; there is no way to discern the actual contributions and impacts of each individual member to the school. Differences in voting records are essential in gaining an accurate depiction of each delegate’s specific views and values.
By releasing the voting records, the ASB class also opens the gateway for student voice and opinion, as each member will inevitably receive appropriate feedback for their voting choices. The protective cloud of obscurity removed, ASB members will individually be put in a position where they are compelled to defend their judgment and their vote; this process, with the added insight, allows them to make more educated decisions. Most importantly, if one were not to vote on behalf of the student population, displaying apathy or a conflict of interest, the ensuing criticism will ensure that the member receives appropriate retributions for their choices. This would pressure ASB members to do their best to vote in favor of the overall student opinion without bias.

Members in the ASB should have absolutely no reason to conceal their vote, as well as the intentions behind their choices. As student representatives, ASB members have a responsibility to better our school as a whole and make decisions that would benefit as many students as possible. Every choice they make should be solely for the public good, without being influenced by peers or personal interests. Thus, the very notion of covering up individual votes garners suspicion.
There’s no denying it: students want voting records to be publicized, and they are taking it upon themselves to make this happen. A petition calling for publicized votes drew over 120 signatures within a week. If 120 students are requesting information they rightfully deserve, it should be released promptly, especially since there are no negative impacts on the rest of the student body.
The ASB places too much emphasis on upholding an appearance of unity at the expense of transparency and authenticity. Some have brought up the loss of solidarity as a concern against the publishing of individual voting records. However, pursuing unity should not be the main objective of the ASB, especially when it comes at the price of diversity in opinion. Forced artificial unity pressures conformity; creating a facade of unity sets an expectation for everyone to simply fall in line, creating an environment in school that doesn’t tolerate criticism or boldness. Furthermore, continuing to sacrificing transparency would only draw additional criticism and dissent.
It should be acknowledged that the ASB currently releases a significant amount of information, and has made progress towards increasing transparency and representation. For example, meeting minutes and prior voting results are all available to the public, recent reforms, such as opening student feedback forms, are steps in the right direction. With that in mind, it would only make sense for the ASB to act in line with their previous decisions and publicize voting records.