Madison Neighborhood Idea Equally Bad In North Dakota

I have pressed the Marquette Neighborhood Association Board, during the term of former President Lynn Lee, to create a cleaner, more open, and transparent process of conducting business.  One item I often wrote about on the public listserv in the neighborhood concerned the vote tallies for the annual meeting not being made public.  I was told that no such data would be made public.  The vote totals from ballots cast by the dues-paying members would be kept secret.  Only the winners’ names would be announced.

This past week’s news about a similar desired behavior in North Dakota has created a stir for those concerned about anti-transparency outcomes.  Their state senate passed a bill (43-3) that aims to forbid election officials from disclosing how many actual votes are cast for each candidate in future presidential elections.  But, unlike the MNA Board, they would disclose them after the Electoral college had convened to select an official victor.  We can clearly see the lunacy and danger from the move in ND that was supported by all the GOP members and opposed by all the Democratic members of the chamber.

Since there is not some raucous emotional event now taking place within the MNA means it would be the right time to have the Board make the change about releasing vote totals at future general meetings when electing new board members.   Transparency is a good thing.  We also know what it looks like and the reaction we have when it is continually, and purposely, undermined.

It goes without saying that withholding vote totals, be it on the Madison isthmus or the flatlands of North Dakota, rightly raises suspicions in the minds of voters about what actually occurred in the election.

I pointed out to Lee many times, when trying to get the Board to understand the simple concept, that voters do question the accuracy of the outcomes without vote totals for the ones running for election. Having much enjoyed civics education in my youth and using it as an adult presses home the most salient argument for releasing vote totals. How can there be a public filled with confidence about an election, the handling and counting of ballots, or the listing of board winners if there are no numbers against which to verify the process?

And so it goes in the Marquette Neighborhood and North Dakota!