There was panic in House of Reps. on Friday over a glitch in the “Peer Pressure Machine” — otherwise known as the computer thingy that allows members to see how other members are voting. The horror!
The reaction sort of reminded me of the Saturday Night Live skit of a news program where the teleprompter went down and the anchors’ panic led to a disintegration of order which descended into a Lord of the Flies scenario and ultimately the decapitation and cannibalization of the weatherman. It wasn’t quite that bad in the House yesterday, but close.
The House electronic voting system malfunctioned at approximately 2 p.m. as lawmakers began a vote on a procedural motion sponsored by Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.). Projectors that usually display how each member voted and show a tally of votes were not working, although votes were still being recorded on computers at various locations in the House chamber…
…The broken computers prompted protracted squabbles among lawmakers Friday afternoon. Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.) questioned how they could vote if they were unable to see the usual tally. Lawmakers are accustomed to seeing how their colleagues are voting while they mull their own decision.
The machine that allows members to ignore what others are doing and vote based upon principle and conscience has been down since about 1777 but nobody seems to have noticed.
Here’s a video of the extensive debate as to how they can proceed if there’s a glitch with the tallying computer. Might I suggest a high-tech approach — it’s called “raising your hand and saying ‘yay’ or ‘nay.'” I guess that’s out, as they’d have to take their hands out of our pockets in order for that system to work.