State Rep. Becky Carney is getting a good bit of attention for her mistaken vote to approve the override of the governor's fracking veto. But she can take heart: President Barack Obama voted wrong when he was a state lawmaker, too.
Republicans sent along a 2008 article from the Los Angeles Times (written by UNC-Chapel Hill grad Peter Wallsten) describing how Obama mistakenly voted six times.
The rules in the Illinois Senate allowed Obama to change his vote in the record. North Carolina lawmakers routinely do the same but House rules prohibit a vote change if it affects the outcome of passage, as in Carney's case.
Wallsten wrote: But some lawmakers say the practice [of changing votes afterward] also offers a relatively painless way to placate both sides of a difficult issue. Even if a lawmaker admits an error, the actual vote stands and the official record merely shows the senator's "intent."
No one has accused Obama, now a U.S. senator and a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, of changing votes to play both sides, and an Obama spokesman called that idea "absurd."
In Obama's case, four wrong votes were mundane but two were more important -- including one in which he voted to override a veto.