I find it difficult to appreciate the arguments presented in favour of a continued regime of secret votes for assorted leadership positions in the Nebraska legislature.
From this article I gather the following argument against dropping secret votes:
Speaker of the Legislature Galen Hadley said he is concerned that open votes would encourage partisanship in the officially nonpartisan Legislature.
The GOP already tries to pressure members into voting only for Republican candidates for committee chairmanships.
Who has the majority of votes in the legislature - the GOP? If so, why then do they not vote by the majority for an open ballot, if inordinate partisan pressure is their desire?
Are Democrats, in different legislatures and other significant political contexts, free from partisan bias? I would argue, it is their right to exercise such a bias, while they are well advised to see to it that they do not overdo it, lest the public punishes them for it, or politicians highly concerned with inordinate partisanship leave the Democratic party, join another (less partisan) party or become genuinely independent. If you get involved in politics it is hard not be affected by and participate in partsianship.
Indeed, if we did not disagree in vital matters, we would have no need for politics. Politics is ultimately about partisanship (not necessarily along party lines, but concerning contested issues). In the final analysis, good politics is about dealing well with partisan conflicts.
The electorate should have an opportunity to know where their candidates are positioned in the contentious business of state politics, and an open ballot will be helpful to that purpose. It is for the informed electorate to decide whether politicians have been acting in an unduly partisan manner.
State Senator Tommy Garrett
noted that voters cast secret ballots in elections.
Secret ballots in elections are resorted to so as to make sure the voter can vote any way she pleases without having to face undue pressure, precisely the opposite reason why we want legislators to vote openly. Secret ballots are not resorted to for electing the voters to hold an office, let alone an accountable public office.
By contrast, open ballots of the kind demanded have the function to ensure accountability by those who are seeeking or holding positions associated with a promise and a duty to be accountable to the electorate.