For the second time since Virginia began its first-ever virtual legislative session, a Virginia lawmaker missed a vote because of technical problems.
During a vote Tuesday on a bill to end qualified immunity for police officers, Del. Michael Webert, R-Marshall, was unable to cast his vote because of technical problems, according to House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah.
Republicans have been critical of House Democratic leadership for their decision to conduct the House special session virtually out of concern technical problems could negatively affect the democratic process.
While speaking during Tuesday’s session, Gilbert said Webert effectively was “shown the door” and everyone he represents was “denied a vote” because of the technical issues. He compared Webert’s unintended removal from the Zoom call to a lawmaker being escorted out of the chamber and urged Democratic leadership to develop protocols to address this kind of situation.
Del. Marcus Simon, D-Falls Church, said someone being booted from the session because of a technical problem is more similar to someone losing their key card and being unable to get into the building than it is to someone being escorted out of the building.
Simon said Webert still would be able to count his vote in the negative because Rule 69 allows a member to include his or her vote in the negative after the vote if they were present and did not vote.
Tuesday’s incident marked the second time a Republican lawmaker could not cast his vote because of technical problems. The first time was Aug. 28, when Del. Jay Leftwich, R-Chesapeake, missed two votes after being unable to connect to the Zoom call. He said he was unable to connect to the chat another time as well but did not miss any votes that time.
Simon said Leftwich had trouble voting because he tried to sign into the session while in a vehicle and being in an irregular location could cause connection difficulties. Leftwich, however, said he was in his office when he lost his connection and was unable to vote. He said the second time he lost connection, he was in a car that someone else was driving, but he did not miss any votes.
Virginia House Republicans criticized Democrats on Twitter for their legislative reforms and the procedural problems.
“We’d much rather be talking about the awful policies [Virginia House Democrats] are passing,” the tweet said. “But we continue to have members who cannot cast their votes. At all.”
When the special session began mid-August, Democrats voted to have committee meetings, votes and the entire session virtually to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Tags: States, News, Virginia, Technology, Coronavirus
Original Author: Tyler Arnold, The Center Square
Original Location: Virginia lawmaker misses virtual vote because of technical problems