After a half-day filibuster that was controversially halted by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Republicans in the Texas Senate scrambled to quickly pass the equally controversial abortion bill SB5, but were halted themselves by two hours of motions and parliamentary inquiries from Democrats trying to run out the clock on Gov. Rick Perry’s special session.
In the end, it all came down to a last-minute vote that could barely be heard over the din of cheers from pro-choice activists gathered in the gallery.
But where did that last minute fall — before or after the bill’s midnight deadline?
The Associated Press and several other large media outlets initially reported that the bill had passed, taking Lt. Gov. Dewhurst’s word that the vote was taken “just before” 12 AM.
But Democratic State Senators and the tens of thousands who witnessed the vote live on a YouTube stream were skeptical.
As well they should have been.
Screengrabs of the official SB5 results page captured by several wonks clearly show the record vote was called after midnight local time, and was therefore dated 6/26.
But seconds later the results page was suddenly taken down, and when it returned, the vote’s date had miraculously been altered to make it seem as though it had been cast in time — on 6/25.
So what happened? Did someone tamper with official state documents? It would seem so, and that’s a crime.
As Technology Policy Analyst Kathy Gill notes over at The Moderate Vote:
In my experience (I’ve done web work since 1993 or so), pages like this one are automatically generated from a database file. In other words, a person doesn’t code the page.
In order to change something like this, someone has to change the database. And things like votes and official times, they’re often (usually?) automatically generated also.
In other words, changes like this are deliberate.
Ultimately, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst conceded that the vote was three minutes too late, and SB5 was pronounced dead.
But that doesn’t mean it won’t rise again. In fact, it almost certainly will.
And when it does, will the same people still be watching to make sure the official voting record keeps the official minutes?
[H/T: The Daily Dot, photo via AP]