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March 2018



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the look

absentee voting by elected officials

In plain view, 'ghosts' are voting in the Pa. House
By Mario F. Cattabiani, Inquirer Staff Writer, Posted on Sun, Mar. 21, 2004
HARRISBURG - On the day Gov. Rendell unveiled his budget to a packed House chamber, Rep. William Rieger voted in favor of all six bills that came up.

But Rieger wasn't there. The Democrat was home on Feb. 3, 100 miles away in Philadelphia.

A wad of paper shoved into his electronic "yea" button atop his desk did the work for him.

Similar sights are in plain view on any given session day in the cavernous lower chamber where so-called ghost voting is a tolerated bipartisan tradition. But, like most state legislatures, rules in the Pennsylvania House explicitly bar it.


Barry Kauffman, executive director of Common Cause of Pennsylvania, a government watchdog group, called ghost voting "fundamentally dishonest."

"It indicates to constituents that they are doing work and taking positions when they are not," said Kauffman, who likened the practice to someone punching a time clock for a coworker who never showed for work.

"The owners of a private enterprise would never tolerate that, and neither should the owners of this public enterprise - the citizens and voters."

I think the reason citizens are not getting upset is that more of us are workers (who might ask someone to punch our cards for us), than employers. It isn't like politicians act like our emploees, they usually act like bosses. Workers are used to bosses who come in late leave early and get paid the same anyway.