Other instances of "ghost voting"

Seth Rosenfeld, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

(06-09) 19:31 PDT -- Ghost voting has haunted the California state Assembly for years. Although assembly rules bar members the practice, some lawmakers have cast votes for colleagues who weren't even in town. Some examples from news reports:

2005: When state Senator Carole Migden's bill to require cosmetics manufacturers to disclose carcinogens in their products seemed short of votes in the assembly, Migden walked onto Assembly floor and pressed the green "aye" button of Republican Assemblyman Guy Houston of San Ramon, who opposed the bill but was away from his seat. She later apologized, The Chronicle reported.

1998: After the assembly passed a measure to create a new compensation option for directors of large irrigation districts, a Republican challenger charged that Assemblyman Jack Scott, D-Altadena, was actually at a television station when someone cast a ghost vote for him. Scott's spokesman called the allegations "laughable," the Los Angeles Times reported.

1996: Lame-duck Assemblyman Curtis Tucker, D-Inglewood, voted more than 30 times on measures when he was not in Sacramento, casting "pivotal" votes on measures involving redevelopment, tobacco and increased burial fees, according to the Los Angeles Times. Tucker denied he knew anyone had cast votes for him.

1994: Julie Bornstein, D-Palm Desert, was out of town when a ghost vote cast for her helped override then-Gov. Pete Wilson's veto of an immigration bill, The Riverside Press Enterprise reported, quoting a Republican opponent. Bornstein called the charge ludicrous.

1992: A key vote on a controversial smokers' rights bill was cast on behalf of Assemblyman Dick Floyd while the Democrat was 400 miles away in Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reported. His seat mate, Assemblyman Curtis Tucker Jr., claimed he was too busy to recall if he had pushed Floyd's voting button.

1992: Assemblyman David Kelley, R-Hemet, accused Assemblywoman Carol Bentley, R-El Cajon, of having someone cast a ghost vote for her when she was not in Sacramento. Bentley acknowledged to The San Diego Union-Tribune that at the time of the vote she was on an airplane.