Voting Problems in Congress

This is bizarre:

House Republicans are taking a mulligan on the first ballot for Majority Leader. The first count showed more votes cast than Republicans present at the Conference meeting

I can’t find anything about the procedures, the technology, anything.

Posted on February 2, 2006 at 3:13 PM27 Comments


Blair Nilsson February 2, 2006 4:05 PM

Maybe they were using one of their evoting machines (Republican? give them more votes!)

Dylan February 2, 2006 5:06 PM

Rollcall is a subscription based site. Is it partisan? Which way does it lean?

Can anyone recommend a general political site in the US that is free and relatively neutral? (Slightly left-leaning would be ok too.)

Justin February 2, 2006 5:07 PM

Perhaps they should have gotten Jimmy Carter to monitor the vote…

Apparently, the issue was that a Puerto Rican delegate was allowed to vote on internal matters but not listed as a voting member, so there was one extra vote when all was tallied.

Ian February 2, 2006 5:24 PM


“Can anyone recommend a general political site in the US that is free and relatively neutral?”

US, political, neutral.

Pick 2.

Dylan February 2, 2006 5:46 PM

I appreciated that the challenge might prove insurmountable.

In that case, how about a credible source of US political news (partisan or not?)

Dylan February 2, 2006 5:55 PM

ABC news says that the ballot is secret, and gives the counts for the first round (without saying anything about there being too many ballots.)

The count was:
Blunt – 110
Boehner – 79
Shadegg – 40
Ryun – 2

Both Shadegg and Ryun then withdrew (although to be fair to him, Ryun had never campagned in the first place.)

Boehner then won the second ballot 122 to 109.

That shows a total number of votes as 231 in the first round, and 231 in the second round.

Perhaps the ‘first round’ reported by ABC was actually the do-over of an original ‘first’ round.

Dylan February 2, 2006 6:06 PM

More reading, and it seems that the clerks got it wrong. They had more eligible voters than they thought they did:

“It turned out that clerks had left Luis Fortuno, the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico, off their list. He is not allowed to vote on the House floor, but does have voting rights in the GOP’s internal deliberations.”

So the counts were right.

Pat Cahalan February 2, 2006 7:32 PM

@ Dylan

If you’re the type to digest it:

The Congressional Record is the offical proceedings and debates of Congress, and is published every day Congress is in session.

There are times when the read has been hilarious. It’s definitely non-partisan, although those who appear in it may not be 🙂

Dylan February 2, 2006 8:54 PM

Thanks for the recs. I’ll look them over. Nice to get some political info from a source other than “The West Wing.”

Guilt by association, methinks?

ruidh February 3, 2006 8:44 AM

“It was a clerical error.” is a generous way to put it. They left off the Puerto Rican delegate because they didn’t think his vote counted.

Mary R February 3, 2006 8:53 AM

Here’s the answer:

February 02, 2006
TWO TRIVIAL NOTES FROM THE HOUSE LEADERSHIP ELECTION. The screw-up with the original balloting among the GOP conference this afternoon that has occasioned so many cracks apparently resulted from the clerks having forgotten that the delegate from Puerto Rico’s vote counts in leadership elections. Nothing extremely shady, alas. Meanwhile, the jokes I’ve seen in the blogoshpere have been funny enough, but it seems like the most obvious one has gone oddly missing: When an aide first came out to tell the press that they had to redo the vote, several journalists simultaneously yelled out variations of “What, is Katherine Harris handling the ballots in there?”

Trivial point number two: The far less important leadership election held today was for policy chairman, which Adam Putnam of Florida clinched. Folks might recall Putnam from the infamous Howdy-Doody incident of 2005.

–Sam Rosenfeld


Justin February 3, 2006 10:39 AM


Another blog worth following as a centre-right source of info is Several bloggers co-operate, one of whom (Philip Carter) regularly writes for Slate. The focus tends to be more national security than washington politics, but it’s been providing a lot of really good coverage of the Bush Administration and the Iraq War.

Albatross February 3, 2006 11:16 AM

I think it’s interesting what this story and its followups indicate about the average citizen’s confidence in the fidelity of our voting systems. We have so little faith that we’re willing to believe every clerical error is a conspiracy.

MEP February 3, 2006 11:27 AM


The Democrats and questionable voting are linked just as commonly. Anyone who’s lived in Chicago (and “voted” for Rostankowski and Daly, knowingly or otherwise) can testify to just how true that is. The security problems inherent in voting these days seem to be linked to the ever-increasing amount of power and wealth that are linked with being elected. The only real security solution to voting fraud in the US is constitutional reform — a return to the political structures of the early history of America where getting elected didn’t have the same profit potential as it has today.

This of course flies in the face of both parties’ current political philosophy so don’t hold your breath.

Dylan February 3, 2006 11:34 PM

Thanks for the other blogs guys.

I have livelinked them all and will see which ones take my fancy.


Leschinsky Oleg February 4, 2006 5:47 AM

Nothing new. Here in Ukraine this happens more often then not.
Gather voting cards from all faction members and push the buttons for yourself and for other guy.

Giacomo February 8, 2006 7:36 AM

This reminds me of the “honourable” practice in the Italian parliament called “playing the piano”. As the members of parliament have an electronic card to insert in front of their seat when voting, you can often see people stretching between desks to vote for their absent neighbours… the best ones can vote for up to 4 people at the same time.

Leave a comment


Allowed HTML <a href="URL"> • <em> <cite> <i> • <strong> <b> • <sub> <sup> • <ul> <ol> <li> • <blockquote> <pre> Markdown Extra syntax via

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.