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PoliticFact Tennessee: Ghost Voting


State legislators may have discovered a way to be in two places at once. A Nashville TV station recorded many instances of lawmakers reaching over to cast votes when their fellow members are out of the chamber, or to count an absent colleague as being present. It’s called “ghost voting.” House Speaker Beth Harwell acknowledges the practice, but says Congress is a worse offender.  Is that true?   

This week on PolitiFact Tennessee, Knoxville News Sentinel Nashville Bureau Chief Tom Humphrey and WUOT's Brandon Hollingsworth are on a ghost hunt…for votes.

Humphrey says Tennessee legislators are using elaborate sticks to reach over and press the voting buttons on behalf of colleagues that are absent, a practice that is legal in Tennessee.  Lawmakers get paid $174 per day in the legislature, that is if they’re marked present.

But in the U.S. House, Humphrey says Harwell’s claim is not true.  He says U.S. House rules explicitly states that no member is allowed to vote on behalf of another member.  But they are not required to be present during floor debates.

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