Fracking Now Legal In North Carolina, Because Lawmaker Pressed The Wrong Button

Technology is screwing up our voting system. It's possible that technology just doesn't belong in that process, isn't it? At least, not until the technology is foolproof and failsafe.

North Carolina lawmakers had already passed a bill that would establish rules for fracking (hydraulic fractured natural-gas drilling) in the state — but that bill was vetoed by Governor Bev Purdue, and to override the veto, the house needed exactly 72 votes.

The vote took place late Monday. Democrat Becky Carney, who had lobbied her fellow democrats to vote against the bill, was tired. It was the end of the day, the night really, and she was feeling fatigued. So fatigued, in fact, she pressed Yea instead of Nay, casting the deciding 72nd vote in favor of the veto!

The Atlantic Wire reports that just after the vote, Carney's voice could be heard on her microphone, saying "Oh my gosh. I pushed green."

Apparently, House rules allow you to change your vote only if it will have no effect on the outcome. What a pointless rule!

Carney better pep herself up before she does any more button pushing — her track record is not great.

So, now fracking is legal in North Carolina — which, depending on who you believe, is a very bad, serious thing — all because two buttons were set very close to one another. Ugh.

A better system, in future, would be to prompt voters with something like the message that comes up before you delete an email. "Are you sure you want to vote Yea, Rep. Carney?" [TheAtlanticWire]


Comments

    Whatever happened to, "Can we have a show of hands please ... "?

    Haha you cant really blame technology for that, if she was that fatigued, according to stupid OH&S laws she shouldn't of been working... I wonder if that's how the pointless OH&S laws got through as well.

      This happened in America not Australia.

    Are you serious? Blaming technology for this woman not being able to distinguish between a RED NAY button and GREEN YEA?

    Jebus, I'd hardly call that "technology". Wow. Primitive.

    I think that is Fracking funny.....

    No way. No fracking way. NO. The world isn't this ridiculous. They're all drunk. That's the only explanation. Everybody is drunk.

    So the 71 other votes were also accidents?

      the next button they have to worry about is the one that starts the high pressure fracking pumps... and triggers of the long delayed "big one" (earthquake).
      After the dust settles, and the bodies are cremated and accounted for - the newly formed island state of California can then use the motto "Oh my gosh, I pushed green." on it's new flag...

        Ha ha based on what facts? Frac'ing does not create earthquakes.

        Go smoke some more hash

          Hal says: Sorry Dave, I can't do that...

          http://www.smh.com.au/business/fracking-link-to-us-earth-shakes-20120413-1wz0c.html

    They have been fracking on battle star galactica since day one, if we want to defeat the cyclons, we are going to have to frack, isn't this obvious!

    1) The pressing of Yea vs Nay is something that you think would be double checked before voting.
    2) Why are those buttons not designed to be further apart?
    3) What stupid rule says that you can only change your vote if it doesnt matter?

      erk... 3 should say: Why have a stupid rule that says you can only change your vote if it doesn't matter?

    Anyway, you can help solve the problem by having the green button accessible only by a combination lock or a puzzle game successfully negotiated

    I worked in the Astralian Senate for a year, and one of the things that surprised me is that if someone stuffs up and something passes when it shouldn't or vice versa, they just have a do-over and hold the vote again. The reason being, the side who should have won can just put a motion to hold another vote, which they'll win because they have a majority.

    So while tired, a senator was asked to decide on: "If you want us to not reject the governor's rejection of this bill, press nay - otherwise press yea" er... or is it the other way round. No wonder she got it wrong.

    Hang on; By voting to support the veto, doesn't that mean the bill for fracking is vetoed and the veto uncontested, in other words "No fracking way" ? Or is the bill meant to prevent fracking - it's not clear here.

      yep. Double negatives will cause all manner of confusion.
      I read that the same way.

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