Earlier this week, the North Carolina legislature received exactly the 72 votes needed to override Governor Bev Perdue’s veto of controversial legislation opening up the state to hydraulic fracturing. But the 72nd vote was a mistaken one from Democrat lawmaker Rep. Becky Carney, who recognized it immediately after casting her vote.
Carney, who has voted against fracking before, cried out immediately after she pushed the “yes” button (to override) instead of “no.” She asked for a do-over, but the pro-fracking GOP House leadership would not consider it:
Ms. Carney and other Democrats asked for a do-over, as is common when a member pushes the wrong button. But in this instance, Republicans said no. A change in Carney’s vote would have changed the outcome, which is against the House rules. But Ms. Carney asked for the rules to be suspended so she could change her vote, but got nowhere [...]
Majority Leader Paul Stam said fracking could be important to North Carolina’s economy and Republicans needed every vote they had to allow it, including Ms. Carney’s. The Senate had already overridden the veto and it became law the moment voting closed, Mr. Stam said. “There was nothing she could do about it,” he said, in an interview. “There was nothing that can be done.
The News & Observer reports that when Carney asked for her vote to be changed, the House Speaker Thom Tillis “went quickly to his Republican leader, Paul ‘Skip’ Stam of Apex, who moved a ‘clincher vote’ to essentially seal the verdict and prevent reconsideration of the vote. It passed.”
Although the final vote was a mistaken one, the pro-oil industry lawmakers would rather rely on a faulty process to permit this controversial practice, which pollutes the air, water, and climate when unregulated.