March 28, 2012

Posting of roll call votes online delayed by busy session

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House vote tally

The House voting board for the same-sex marriage bill.

Tally sheets from roll call votes in the House of Delegates have not been quickly posted on the General Assembly’s website, with clerks citing technical difficulties and an end-of-session pile up of votes.

The clerk’s office and the IT staff apparently caught up with the backlog by Wednesday evening, with all but votes from Wednesday morning’s brief session now posted. The daily proceedings pages for the sessions since last Thursday were all modified after 8 p.m., according to internal coding on the pages. MarylandReporter.com had asked about the absence of online roll calls votes earlier in the day.

Without posting these tally sheets online, the yeas or nays on contentious bills are only available to those in Annapolis who can obtain a printout in the State House. Although members of the public can view the number of delegates that voted for or against a bill, without the tally sheet they are unable to see how specific representatives voted.

The House met for nearly five hours during a special Saturday session, passing a long list of bills. Of the 70 bills approved then, only one roll call  — for a bill that was approved unanimously — had been uploaded by early Wednesday afternoon.

Those in the clerk’s office said the delay was due to the sheer number of bills the House has considered over the past week, as well as the number of delegates who changed their votes on various bills.

Indeed, last Thursday the House met for nearly 11 hours without breaking. Throughout this 90-day legislative session, the voting board in the House chamber has been plagued with technical difficulties, forcing many delegates to correct improperly recorded votes.

MarylandReporter.com has received multiple requests from frustrated readers about missing vote breakdowns for more controversial legislation.

— Justin Snow
Justin@MarylandReporter.com

Len Lazarick contributed to this story.