A State Representative in North Carolina accidentally cast the deciding vote on a key fracking bill, handing her opponents a victory because she pushed the wrong button. Lawmakers had already passed a bill establishing rules for hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling for oil and gas exploration in the state, but that bill had been vetoed by the Governor Bev Perdue. The House needed exactly 72 votes to override the veto late on Monday night and Democrat Becky Carney (who voted against the original bill) was lobbying fellow Democrats to vote no. But when the time came to cast her vote, Carney hit the wrong button. Her "yes" vote gave opponents exactly 72 votes. Oops.
Just after the vote, Carney's voice could be heard on her microphone, saying "Oh my gosh. I pushed green."
Even more bizarrely, House rules prohibit changing your vote if doing so would affect the outcome. (In other words, you can change your vote on a bill, but only if won't make any difference.) So the override stays in effect and fracking is now legal in North Carolina.
Carney apologized profusely and blamed the error on late-night fatigue, saying, "I feel rotten, and I feel tired." While not known for making those kinds of mistakes, Carney did face another embarrassing screw-up earlier this year, when she basically admitted to passing a transportation bill without knowing what it actually did. (She has since since tried to correct that mistake by introducing a replacement law.)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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