FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why Wisconsin’s Assembly Vote Was Illegal

by ERIC JOHNSON-DeBAUFRE

Early Friday morning, the Republican leadership of Wisconsin’s state assembly rushed through Governor Walker’s bill that would strip most unionized state employees of their ability to engage in collective bargaining. As is by now familiar, the vote opened and closed in a matter of seconds, leaving 28 members of the assembly uncounted in the vote, which passed by a 51 to 17 margin (all 51 in favor, it should be noted, were Republicans).

Progressive media outlets—who, to their credit, have expressed outrage at the underhanded tactics employed by the Republican majority—are already touting this as a victory for Walker. But this concession seems premature as a close inspection of the Wisconsin assembly rules suggests that the vote was illegal.

According to Assembly Rule 76 (6), “During a roll call vote, any member may raise the point of order that a member appears to be absent from the chamber but is shown as voting according to the roll call display boards. If the presiding officer rules the point of order ‘well taken’, the vote of the absent member may not be recorded.”1

The clear intent of the rule is to prevent error or fraud from occurring in votes taken in the state assembly. But exercise and enforcement of the rule also clearly requires that there be sufficient time during a vote for assembly members to register whether or not there is a discrepancy between votes recorded and the members physically present on the floor.

Opening and closing a vote within seconds clearly violates the intent for which Rule 76 (6) was designed and adopted. Wisconsin Democrats thus have good ground for throwing out last night’s vote.

ERIC JOHNSON-DeBAUFRE is a visiting lecturer at Boston University and an occasional contributor to CounterPunch.

Assembly Rule 76. Voting. http://nxt.legis.state.wi.us/nxt/gateway.dll/?f=templates$fn=default.htm

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
Robert Hunziker
America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux
David Jaffe
The Republican Party and the ‘Lunatic Right’
John Davis
No Tomorrow or Fashion-Forward
Patrick Cockburn
Treating Mental Health Patients as Criminals
Jack Dresser
An Accelerating Palestine Rights Movement Faces Uncertain Direction
George Wuerthner
Diet for a Warming Planet
Lawrence Wittner
Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?
Colin Todhunter
From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial
Paul Bentley
Teacher’s Out in Front
Franklin Lamb
A Post-Christian Middle East With or Without ISIS?
Kevin Martin
We Just Paid our Taxes — are They Making the U.S. and the World Safer?
Erik Mears
Education Reformers Lowered Teachers’ Salaries, While Promising to Raise Them
Binoy Kampmark
Fleeing the Ratpac: James Packer, Gambling and Hollywood
Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
Paul Street
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Dude, Where’s My War?
Andrew Levine
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
Paul Atwood
Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?
Robert Hunziker
Trump and Global Warming Destroy Rivers
Vijay Prashad
Turkey, After the Referendum
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, the DOJ and Julian Assange
CJ Hopkins
The President Formerly Known as Hitler
Steve Reyna
Replacing Lady Liberty: Trump and the American Way
Lucy Steigerwald
Stop Suggesting Mandatory National Service as a Fix for America’s Problems
Robert Fisk
It is Not Just Assad Who is “Responsible” for the Rise of ISIS
John Laforge
“Strike Two” Against Canadian Radioactive Waste Dumpsite Proposal
Norman Solomon
The Democratic Party’s Anti-Bernie Elites Have a Huge Stake in Blaming Russia
Andrew Stewart
Can We Finally Get Over Bernie Sanders?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail