Bizarro Legislature

If you're a member of the NC House and make a mistake with your vote, and want to change it, you can do so only if changing your vote doesn't change the result. That sounds like something out of a Seinfeld episode.

The 10-year veteran lawmaker hit the wrong button on her desk. Carney punched the thumbnail-sized green button that says “AYE” just above the red one that says “NO.”

“Oh, my God,” she said on the floor. “It won’t let me change my vote.”

For all the maneuvering, arm-twisting and political horse-trading Republicans employed to get a handful of Democrats to void their party leader’s veto just before 11:30 p.m. Monday, it came down to a mistake.

“You ever see my golf game?” said state Sen. Bob Rucho, a bill sponsor, after the vote. “It’s based on luck, not on skill.”…

The vote took her by surprise. Republicans limited debate on the fracking legislation – Senate bill 820 – and called the vote. Green button to override. Red button to sustain.

Carney hit the button and looked to the board above the chamber that shows the results: 72 to 46. The color next to Carney’s name matched the Republicans.

She panicked. She hit a different button to turn on her microphone and called to the House speaker on the dais. He didn’t recognize her. So she rushed to the front, 20 steps from her seat in the eighth row down the red-carpeted middle aisle.

Carney asked the clerk to check her vote. Green. Override.

She then asked Tillis if she could change her vote. Tillis said House rules prevented it.

Lawmakers mistakenly vote all the time but they are not permitted to change a vote if it affects the outcome.

Is this really how we want our town/county/state/federal government to run? Wouldn't a time limit on changing your vote be adequate, whether or not it affects the outcome? Even Microsoft products ask you if you're sure you want to undelete something, so you have to ask yourself if we want to be governed by a system that's actually buggier than Word. Sometimes I think I've fallen asleep and been awakened in Bizarro World.

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