The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana is claiming the state Senate’s secret leadership nomination process is unconstitutional.
PAR President Robert Travis Scott issued a statement this morning condemning the Senate’s 4-year-old rule that allows the legislative body to nominate its leadership through a secret ballot process. The actual vote to elect one of the nominated leaders is public.
“Constituents have a right to know and observe how their elected representative voted. Allowing secret votes is bad policy, and hence there’s a reason why it’s illegal,” Scott writes.
The Senate will elect a new leader in January. PAR called on legislators to suspend or eliminate Senate Rule 3.1.1, claiming it violates the state constitution and the Open Meetings Law as a type of proxy voting or secret balloting that is expressly prohibited.
The Senate’s response, as reported by PAR, is “the nomination process only is conducted by ballot; the vote to elect is conducted via voice.”
Rep. Tanner Magee, R-Houma, defended the rule on Twitter today, saying “Senators can challenge the secret (nomination) and force an open vote—so I think it’s as constitutional as any other election process where it’s often done inside a caucus.”
By contrast, the House Speaker is elected without secret ballots. PAR argues this led to the election of two independent leaders. Magee is one of a number of candidates reportedly vying for House Speaker.
Read the full statement here.