Question about Proxy Voting on the House Floor
… er, is it legal?
While I caught only the last twenty minutes of the House session tonight, I sat next to a friend had arrived before myself. She cheerfully pointed out three or four House members who had voted on behalf of other House members. Each had pushed their own “Yea” or “Nay” button and then hurriedly pushed the button at the desk of a neighbor. Or neighbors. My friend said a couple of reps looked like they were working several bingo cards.
This was presumably done with the permission of those absent House members. (“… wait, I don’t remember voting to reinstate slavery.”) That doesn’t make it legal, though, does it?
Thanks to Will and Andrew for advising that proxy voting is, indeed, legal. Andrew kindly supplied the pertinent House rule.
No member shall speak or vote, unless within the bar of the House and at his or her seat, except as hereinafter provided. Every member (except as provided in Rule 3) who shall be in his or her seat in the House Chamber when the question is put, shall give his or her vote, unless prior thereto the Speaker shall have excused him or her in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Ethics statute (RIGL 36-14-6). No member may vote for another member, nor activate another member’s voting machine except by the express direction of that member who is present in the House chamber. No one may occupy the vacant seat of a member
Andrew has a point when he remarks,
There’s something weird about a rule that says you can vote in place of another person, but don’t sit in their seat.