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House Dem says she erred on NC fracking override

Posted July 3, 2012

— A House Democrat says she voted mistakenly to override Gov. Beverly Perdue's veto of a bill that authorizes natural gas drilling in North Carolina but was told she couldn't change it because the outcome would have changed.

Rep. Becky Carney of Charlotte says she pushed the green button at her desk Monday night to vote to override the vote before realizing she wanted to vote red, or "no."

Her "yes" vote made the tally 72-47 – just above the 60 percent majority required for the override. Changing her vote would have reduced the majority below 60 percent.

"I made a mistake, and I tried to get recognized to change it as people had been doing all night on other bills, and it was too late because it changed the outcome of the vote," Carney said.

House rules allow members to change their votes as long as it does not affect the outcome of a bill. They do that a lot, pushing the wrong button and then changing their votes later.

Because Carney's vote did affect the veto override, House Majority Leader Paul Stam said her intent to vote differently doesn't matter.

"That doesn't count in legislation. It's what you actually, how you actually vote, not how you wished to vote," said Stam, R-Wake.

General Assembly voting buttons Mistaken vote helps legalize gas drilling in NC

Carney could have asked for that rule to be suspended, but she never got the chance. Stam used a parliamentary move called a clincher to make sure she couldn't change it, and House Speaker Thom Tillis defended the maneuver.

"I think the member was well aware of how to vote green or red. For whatever reason, maybe it was a mistake, maybe she decided to change her vote. We can't do that," said Tillis, R-Mecklenburg.

House Minority Leader Joe Hackney criticized the move.

“Failing to recognize Rep. Carney for a motion and then foreclosing the possibility with the clincher motion is 'gotcha' politics in the legislative process,” Hackney, D-Orange, said in a statement.

Carney had voted earlier against the legislation, which opens North Carolina to gas exploration, including a controversial drilling method known as "fracking," as early as 2014. She said she feels terrible about her error but acknowledged the bill passed legally, although late-night, end-of-session votes don't help the situation.

"I feel rotten and I feel tired, and I feel mistakes are made constantly when people are tired and under the stress of people pushing to get out of here," she said.

44 Comments

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  • superman Jul 5, 2012

    If people dont know the difference between red and green they should resign and go home. Think twice before you make your selection. But even a better suggestion please dont run for public office again.

  • pappybigtuna1 Jul 5, 2012

    Did she vote the way her constituates wanted or did she vote the way she wanted? And made her mistake? Feel her ego has reached a new level

    Do what the people want not what you want

  • whatelseisnew Jul 5, 2012

    "Let's face it folks, she did NOT believe in this bill. Whether it changed the outcome or not, she notified them within a very short time she had made a mistake. The sad fact is, the Republican's are so desperate they will steal votes, as they evidently stole this one. No surprise there!"

    This is typical. Lefties do not like the rules when they do not work to their benefit. At that point they want them changed. I will say the rule seems foolish. The rule should be that a person can change their vote until the time limit for casting the vote is ended. It should not matter whether that vote changes the outcome or not. The legislature should change this rule for FUTURE votes. Maybe in the 100 years that the Dems controlled things they could have fixed this.

  • NCHighlander Jul 3, 2012

    Until Republican's toughen us and use the democrat playbook where the motto is "by any means necessary" they will loose elections.

  • caryzoo Jul 3, 2012

    Let's face it folks, she did NOT believe in this bill. Whether it changed the outcome or not, she notified them within a very short time she had made a mistake. The sad fact is, the Republican's are so desperate they will steal votes, as they evidently stole this one. No surprise there!

  • mille045 Jul 3, 2012

    Let's see, which finger do I use to push one of two colors? Oops, wrong finger. Vote vote.

  • NCHighlander Jul 3, 2012

    Don't worry Rep. Carney. Bev understands. This is exactly how she got into the governor's office.

  • Disabled Vet Jul 3, 2012

    Wonder what else she "erred" on?

  • NCHighlander Jul 3, 2012

    if Rep. Becky Carney does not know what she is doing she should be removed from office. mfarmer1

    Will you stop already? I'm enjoying this.

  • NCHighlander Jul 3, 2012

    Fracking seems reasonable and safe to me- georgegray

    It seems safer than letting incompetent democrats push buttons!!

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