Fracking Now Legal in North Carolina, Because Lawmaker Pressed the Wrong ButtonS

Technology is screwing up our voting system. It is, time and time again. It's possible that technology just doesn't belong in that process, isn't it? At least, not until the technology is foolproof and failsafe.

North Carolina lawmakers had already passed a bill that would establish rules for fracking (hydraulic fractured natural-gas drilling) in the state—but that bill was vetoed by Governor Bev Perdue, and to override the veto, the house needed exactly 72 votes.

The vote took place late Monday. Democrat Becky Carney, who had lobbied her fellow democrats to vote against the bill, was tired. It was the end of the day, the night really, and she was feeling fatigued. So fatigued, in fact, she pressed Yea instead of Nay, casting the deciding 72nd vote in favor of the veto!

The Atlantic Wire reports that just after the vote, Carney's voice could be heard on her microphone, saying "Oh my gosh. I pushed green."

Apparently, House rules allow you to change your vote only if it will have no effect on the outcome. What a pointless rule!

Carney better pep herself up before she does any more button pushing—her track record is not great.

So, now fracking is legal in North Carolina—which, depending on who you believe, is a very bad, serious thing—all because two buttons were set very close to one another. Ugh.

A better system, in future, would be to prompt voters with something like the message that comes up before you delete an email. "Are you sure you want to vote Yea, Rep. Carney?" [TheAtlanticWire]