May 31, 2013
Assignment #4 Ghost Voting
Ghost voting is a practice in which a member of a legislative assembly casts a vote without being present in the voting chamber. The absent legislator would therefore record a vote on the issue while being able to attend to other matters. Members of the same party often agree to perform ghost votes for each other, and in some cases, members of opposing parties have even cast ghost votes which run contrary to the beliefs of the absent legislator. While it might seem impossible to vote without being present, there are in fact several ways in which ghost voting can occur, and the practice is actually quite widespread. In some ...view middle of the document...
Texas lawmakers who worked to pass a voter ID bill argued that they were on the side of honesty and integrity, rooting out fraud and tamper-proofing the system. But some of these same legislators were perpetrating a fraud of their own, casting votes for absent colleagues.
Constituents can track how their representatives voted on any bill. But as long as ghost voting persists, they can’t be sure that a particular legislator was on the floor or even in the building when an issue was decided. This practice shows a disturbing case of a "do as I say and not what I do" manipulation. "Ghost voting is more sinister precisely because it is hidden and operates under the radar - operating with the same purpose, subverting the will of the electorate. Elected representatives who ask for votes from citizens to represent them in the house have an obligation to said citizens to represent them and their interest. There's a big problem when you feel like your elected official isn't present for things as crucial as a vote, and that it's left in the hands of another rep (possibly for a different district).
Ghost voting is also unethical, disingenuous and a mockery of democracy. The problem isn't widespread. But it's enough of a concern that the state House Ethics Committee plans to investigate the alleged practice of those who make arrangements for votes to be cast on their behalf while their seats are vacant....