General Assembly Technology Gains Derision from Woodstock Advocate

Republican State Rep. Darlene Senger spoke on House Bill 332 as I dipped into the proceedings.

Republican State Rep. Darlene Senger spoke on House Bill 332 as I dipped into the proceedings.

Gus Philpott, publisher of Woodstock Advocate, has been watching the General Assembly in action recently.

You can, too. Look here.

The last days of the session are particularly busy and often run late into the night.

And what do visitors to the chamber remark most about?

It’s staffers and legislators going from desk to desk to punch buttons when legislators are not at their seats.

In days past, that could be somewhat explained by members being on conference committees at the end of the session. Indeed, when the House chambers were remodeled, a glass walled room was constructed where such deliberations could take place within sight of one’s seat (at least if one were a House member of a conference committee).

Now the practice of ghost voting is visible on the internet.

It is made possible when members do not take their keys with them when they leave the floor.

Philpott writes of seeing it in the Senate here.

It’s not limited to the Senate.

You can read about how someone voted my switch when I was absent here.

When I was in my first year in the Illinois House–1973–one Democrat was on the floor so rarely that I thought he was a lobbyist. (Lobbyists were allowed on the floor then, at least at the edges of the floor. That was before House Speaker Bob Blair built plexiglass windows around the sides of the House chamber, earning him the nickname “Bulletproof Bob.”)

Thinking about the live broadcasting of House sessions reminds me of how I was fascinated by listening to WBBM radio on night in the late 1960’s. The station broadcast what the House was doing for several hours. It fascinated me.

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House Bill 332, by the way does nothing. It is a place holder for some subject matter on which sponsor House Speaker Mike Madigan might want some senator to amend something.

Bills like this make it virtually impossible for the public to follow what is happening in Springfield.

That is the entire point, of course.


General Assembly Technology Gains Derision from Woodstock Advocate — 9 Comments

  1. If anyone but the elected Member of the General Assembly votes at his desk, it should be a felony – for both.

    For the person who voted, and for the Representative or Senator who left his voting button unlocked.

    What exists is FRAUD in every session of the General Assembly.

    This must stop!

  2. The Chief Justice of the IL supreme court was just in town.

    Did anybody ask him about this practice?

    Has the ISBA filed a class action suit?

    Have voters started going directly the ones doing the illegal voting?

    And telling them to stop it or else?

  3. I attempted to email the Legislative Inspector General yesterday about this practice, but my email to his State email address bounced.

    I telephoned Mr. Homer’s office this morning and left a message, asking him to investigate this practice and to admonish and sanction Members of the General Assembly who vote for other members AND who leave their own voting buttons unlocked, when they leave their desks, and to halt the practice of clerks and aides who rush from desk to desk to vote from absent members’ desks.

  4. A paralegal at the ARDC suggested to me that it is a procedural issue, not a complaint issue (to the ARCD) (even though many members of the G.A. are lawyers), and my question should be directed to the Rules section of the legislature.

    Yeah, like Cullerton or Madigan will do anything about it. They have to know about it and condone it.

  5. Ninety-Eighth (98th) General Assembly 2013 Rules of the Illinois House of Representatives.

    Article VI: Parliamentary Practice.

    House Rule 51: Decorum.

    “(i) No member may be absent from a session of the House unless he or she has leave or is sick or his or her absence is unavoidable. The switch to the electrical roll call recording equipment located on the desk of any member who has been excused or is absent shall be locked by the Clerk and shall not be unlocked until the member returns and files with the Clerk a request to be shown as present on the quorum roll call as provided in Rule 32(c).”

  6. Rules of the Senate of the State of Illinois Ninety-Eighth (98th) General Assembly.

    Article VII: Parliamentary Practice (Source: S.R. 2, 98th G.A.).

    Senate Rule 7-1.


    Voting within Bar.

    No Senator shall be permitted to vote on any question before the Senate
    unless on the floor before the vote is announced.

    No member of a committee may vote except in person at the time of the call of the committee vote.

    Any vote of the Senate shall be by roll call whenever two Senators so request or whenever the Presiding Officer so orders.

    (Source: S.R. 2, 98th G.A.).”

  7. The House and Senate creates their own rules but doesn’t follow them?

  8. How they aren’t allowed to vote by iphone app shows where we are at. I am surprised that they don’t vote by charcoal on shove.

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