weeks ago, I wrote an article about the practice of our state legislature
using so called ‘ghost’ employees. These, as you may remember, were
employees who were carried on the states payroll as full time but
actually performed little or no work at all. By having them classified
as full time, they were able to receive medical insurance as well
as retirement credits.
Well, now we have a new twist coming along to contend with…..ghost
That’s right, ghost voting. Now that doesn’t mean that we have ghosts
voting in the legislature of this state, it means that absent members
get other members to vote for them. In other words, if I’m out in
the lobby or down the hall in the cafeteria when a vote comes up,
just reach over and press my button for me…thanks I’ll do the same
for you next time you want to be gone.
It seems some enterprising news reporter videoed this taking place
and posted the site on You-Tube where it has been seen over a million
times. I’d bet that reporter isn’t allowed back in the chambers
at any time in the near future. After the video came out several
of the lawmakers were interviewed and said that “obviously the public
didn’t understand how the legislators actually worked.”
You’re correct, we don’t. We thought when you got elected to office,
you sat in either the house or senate and actually listened to what
was going on and then made a decision as to which way you wanted
to vote. Obviously we were wrong, it doesn’t work like that.
Dumb old us.
An option was
proposed to have fingerprint recording devices in several of the
common areas so that the lawmakers could be in the lounge or restrooms
and still be able to vote. One female lawmaker says even that would
be onerous since she wears pantyhose and petticoats and having to
vote from a bathroom stall would be inconvenient. Another lawmaker
lamented that giving extra time to vote might reduce the legislative
workload by as much as one fourth.
Now, we’re talking. I’m for that…..
Of course, once a new solution such as the fingerprint reader gets
mentioned, all kinds of objections get thrown up in rebuttal. One
was from a member who was concerned if the fingerprint reader would
work if they cut their finger. They made the comment that they might
cut their finger while cutting onions and that might prevent them
from making an important vote. This is probably from one of the
legislative members who haven’t cooked anything since TV dinners
I suppose that isn’t fair since they might be able to cut their
finger on the cardboard box trying to get it open.
Another house member said she was reluctant to use her fingerprint
on anything in the house. She says she doesn’t trust technology.
There’s a progressive thinker for you, makes you wonder if they
have electricity and indoor plumbing out in her district. Probably
not, let’s keep ‘em down on the farm.
Of course the problem for me is that I think the votes should be
actually entered by the person making the vote, not someone else.
But then, that’s me. Call me crazy, but I think most folks think
the same way I do.
Here again we have another example of the classic…do as I say, not
as I do…syndrome that seems to be prevalent with our esteemed elected
officials. When we, the lowly citizenry, of this country have to
go and sign up for our driver’s license, we have to have our fingerprints
entered into a system. It has never occurred to me to ask if the
system is safe or not, I just go along with the rest of the herd
and do what is being asked. Obviously members of the legislature
don’t feel the same. They aren’t willing to sit at their desks and
be present when votes are taken, and don’t trust any type of technology
which could verify their actual presence when a vote was taken.
Since votes aren’t recorded by name in this state, are the legislators
ashamed to defend their voting records?
Might be something there.
My wife said
I was becoming too cynical with my articles. I think she’s correct,
but there is so much to be cynical about and so little time. To
me your votes should be like a sword…use it wisely and where it
will do the most good.
Letters From North America
July 10, 2008 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
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