How we polled the entire SC State legislature and shared the results live
J. Emory Parker

I think there is great potential for expanded public accountability of officials through real-time coverage of issues. Often, especially in the legislative process, which is fairly opaque to the average citizen, an official’s position can be hard to track as the issue, and subsequent legislation, is modified, tabled, advanced, and more.

The Post and Courier, and other publications, should continue to use this methodology to capture the complex in a digestible format. It’s a great service to the public.

However, it’s important to remember that many elected officials do — and should — change their mind as the issue changes. Perhaps the legislation has provisions and riders that are not palatable, or new data changes perspectives. The media’s promotion of enhanced, live accountability will obviously reflect the changing landscape of support, but care should be taken to be sure officials are not vilified for having not yet made a decision, or for reasonably changing their position. Debate, discussion, and careful consideration should be the welcomed standard among our public officials.

Simply, there’s often a context greater than a “yea” or “nay” stance. Make sure that context is also presented.