Okay, as we discussed earlier, Rep. <$NoAd$> Charles Taylor (R-NC) has put out a statement saying that he voted "NO" on CAFTA last night but that the voting machine didn't register his vote.
In the statement he put out he seems to imply that he and Rep. Howard Coble voted "No" together on the floor.
The exact statement reads (emphasis added)...
I voted NO on the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) in the vote last night. I informed the Majority Leader and the Appropriations Chairman I was voting no, as I had informed my constituents I was voting no. Rep. Howard Coble and I voted "no" together. Due to an error, my "no" vote did not record on the voting machine. The Clerk's computer logs verified that I had attempted to vote, but it did not show my "nay". I am re-inserting my "No" vote in the record. But even with my NO vote re-inserted, the bill still passed.
I'm reprinting the exact language of the statement because I want you to evaluate for yourself just what the words are supposed to mean. But I took them to mean that Coble was in some way a witness to his vote, that they had physically went to vote at the same time, etc.
I talked a few minutes ago with Rep. Coble (R-NC) and what he told me is this.
Coble recalled that he and Taylor had spoken earlier in the day and both told each other they were going to vote "No". Both had apparently been asked by House whip Roy Blunt to wait until late in the voting, even though they planned to vote "No", and both had agreed to do so.
Later that evening, when the voting was actually underway, Coble saw Taylor on the floor and suggested that after they both voted they should both leave the chamber together, to avoid strong-arming from the leadership to change their votes -- something that did eventually happen
to fellow North Carolina Congressman Robin Hayes.
After Coble eventually voted, he told me, he saw Taylor 15 to 20 feet away. Taylor said he'd just voted "No" too. After which, both left the chamber and went to Congressman Taylor's Appropriations Committee office, where they remained for roughly an hour.
During that time they watched the vote on the closed circuit House video, but without the volume on.
While this was happening, Coble's chief of staff Ed McDonald was watching on C-Span and heard Taylor's name being called off as not having voted. Realizing the problem, Coble told me, McDonald twice called Taylor's office to report the problem, but got no response -- the reason being, of course, that Coble and Taylor were in Taylor's Appropriations Committee office, watching with the volume off.
On the key question, was Coble actually with Taylor when he voted? Or did he see him vote? Apparently not.
"I didn't see him insert the card," said Coble.
When I asked Coble whether he had ever heard of such a vote tabulation error in the House, he told me he'd been in the House for twenty-one years and thought he had a recollection of its possibly having occurred once, but was not certain.Late Update
: I left messages this afternoon with Gerry Van at the House Clerk's Office to determine whether their computer records had in fact confirmed the voting snafu, as Rep. Taylor's statement claims. But I have yet to hear back from them.
: We're discussing this evolving story in this discussion thread