The Return of Phantom Voting
I’ve never been a big fan of Scooby-Doo. Even as a kid, the unmasking of the troublesome ghost as the person who’d helped the ragtag detectives seemed too predictable.
But somebody needs to call the Mystery Machine to Beacon Hill. It seems that phantoms are voting in the place of our state representatives. Again.
Like, whoa, Scoob.
Several House members, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said phantom voting has re-emerged as a problem in recent months, despite promises by House leaders to crack down following a notoriously wild budget debate in 2000.
Most recently, State Rep. Charles Murphy was recorded voting with his party on several budget measures while he was on his way back from a visit to St. Croix. But phantom voting has been an issue in the House for nearly a decade. Former House Speaker Tom Finneran came under fire for only slapping House members on the wrist after they got drunk, fell asleep, and allowed colleagues to vote for them during 2000’s infamous “Animal House” session.
Current House Speaker Sal DiMasi promises to put his foot down.
“This kind of behavior is expressly prohibited in the House rules and should not be happening,” DiMasi spokesman David Guarino said in a statement. “The speaker will tonight be reminding members of the strict prohibition in the rules and he expects compliance in the future.”
And they may have gotten away with it, too. If not for those meddling kids over at the Herald.