Incompetent Elected Official of the Month: North Carolina State Rep. Becky Carney

North Carolina’s General Assembly accidentally legalized fracking,  the controversial technology that allows the extraction of natural gas and hydrocarbons that once were inaccessible for commercial use, when the Governor’s veto of the fracking bill was unintentionally over-ridden.  Rep. Becky Carney, D-Mecklenburg, says she did not intend to cast the key vote that overrode the governor’s veto of the bill, but pushed the green button, signifying “Aye” instead of the red button, signifying “Nay.” 


The vote was 72-47, exactly the count required for to override a veto. Without Carney’s botch, the governor’s veto would have stood. This meant that Carney, by North Carolina’s House rules, could not change her vote, which is only allowed when a flip-flop won’t alter the result.

“It is late. Here we are rushing to make these kind of decisions this time of night,” she told reporters, pathetically. Indeed, Carney is an opponent of fracking, she has voted against it in the past, and she spent the day lobbying other Democrats to uphold the veto of Senate Bill 820.

Color me unsympathetic. Legislators don’t have much to do but read bills, make up their minds, and vote by pushing a big button, and there are only three (including “ABSTAIN.” It is presumably  yellow.) If Carney can’t gather her wits sufficiently to push the correct button on a crucial and closely contested vote, she is too careless and irresponsible to hold office. She is also unqualified to drive (that red-green color-blindness is a problem), use automated voting machines, and please, for the love of God, have responsibility for launching nuclear weapons. Right after the vote, Carney’s was heard on her microphone, saying “Oh my gosh. I pushed green!”

At least she didn’t say, “Oopsie! I just destroyed Beijing!


Pointer: James Taranto

Facts: WRAL

Graphic: tbbr

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at

5 thoughts on “Incompetent Elected Official of the Month: North Carolina State Rep. Becky Carney

    • Of course. Though the Rodney King comparison automatically makes me suspicious—King was beaten with excessive force—he also was a huge guy that was resisting arrest and attacked the officers more than once before they lost it. Let’s see what the story was here.

  1. You guys are overlooking an important aspect of this fracking vote. One Democrat, Suzi Hamilton, appears to have sold her vote in favor of fracking in exchange for pork funds for her county. This representative had previously voted against the bill but flipped sides when millions of $$ were aligned for her pet project – money for movie production studios in Wilmington, NC. To make matters worse, she had recently received a conservation award. The award was rescinded after her vote.

    Don’t be like FoxNews. Go in depth and tell the entire story, OK?

    • Don’t tell me what to write about, OK? The topic was the careless vote, not fracking, not horse-trading for votes. This isn’t a news blog. I focus on the issues that interest me and that have ethical implications, when I want to, the way I want to. If you want my take on that kind of vote buying, check my posts on the passage of the Affordable Care Act, where the votes of more than one U.S. Senator were openly purchased in a manner not unlike what you describe. But that wasn’t what this post was about. It was about one careless legislator who couldn’t push the right button. Nothing was “overlooked.”

  2. Nice Work, Jack!
    I ran across your blog a little while ago. I like your attack and your layout.
    Just signed up for a subscription.

    Thanks and Cheers,

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