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Governor, Legislators, Policy Council Call for Voting Accountability

Press Release

Location: Columbia, SC

Governor, Legislators, Policy Council Call for Voting Accountability


Governor Mark Sanford today joined with S.C. House Representatives Nikki Haley, Nathan Ballentine, and others, as well as S.C. Policy Council President Ashley Landess, to call for on-the-record voting in the S.C. General Assembly.

A recent study by the S.C. Policy Council showed that the S.C. House of Representative voted on-the record only eight percent of the time, and the S.C. Senate did so only one percent of the time. In other words, for other bills it is not possible for an average citizen to know how their legislator voted on a given matter - making it incredibly difficult for voters to hold their elected leaders accountable for their actions.

"Two things that are foundational to any democratic government are the ideas of standing up and being counted for your vote, and the idea of voters being able to find out who indeed voted for what," Gov. Sanford said. "Requiring on-the-record voting for every bill that passes will inject some much-needed sunlight into what is too often a very murky process."

Gov. Sanford is supporting a bill by Rep. Haley and more than a dozen co-sponsors that would require taking roll on every bill passed by the General Assembly. A similar measure is being supported by Senator Glenn McConnell.

"The days of back room deals and a few loud voices must no longer be the standard for accountability. The only standard should be every lawmaker voting on the record," Rep. Haley said.

A longtime proponent of transparency in his efforts to tie lawmakers names to their spending project requests, Rep. Ballentine is one of the lead sponsors of the House legislation.

"On the record voting is something our government needs and the public demands of their elected officials. This is just another example of common-sense reforms we are trying to bring to state government in order to restore public trust and confidence in their elected officials," Ballentine said.

The governor is also joining with the Policy Council in asking for other transparency reforms, such as an online check registry, expanding open records laws, and a ban on taxpayer funded lobbyists. The reforms would be the latest in a history of transparency initiatives in the Sanford Administration, including an end to Cabinet pass-throughs, online campaign disclosures, and online databases for agency expenditures and Medicaid outlays.

"The public deserves to know how their elected officials vote, and not just when they decide it is convenient. Representative democracy only works when the public can access their legislators' voting records. Other states hold their lawmakers much more accountable on the record - South Carolinians deserve full transparency from their public servants," Landess said.

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