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Republican Byrd tops House in vote swaps

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State Rep. Charlice Byrd has tweaked her recorded votes more than other lawmaker in the last six years, her primary rival’s campaign claimed in a 12-page index documenting the practice.

Though it bears no impact on the official margin, an obscure House provision allows lawmakers to change their vote on any legislation after roll calls.

By rival Republican Michael Caldwell‘s count, Byrd has exploited the rule at least 24 times, nearly doubling the legislator who registered second in the measure. (Atlanta Democrat Ralph Long was named first runner-up with 13 vote swaps.)

Caldwell, a twenty-something candidate whose campaign I previously profiled for Fox News, said he first learned of the curious legislative indulgence in 2011 when he and Byrd grappled over the vote margins of a bill green lighting Sunday alcohol sales referendums.

A supporter of the measure, Caldwell circulated on Facebook the roll call vote for the legislation, listing Byrd among the recorded nays. But Byrd fired back that her young critic was mistaken and that she was in fact among the supporting majority.

Not quite, as Caldwell would come to learn.

The Woodstock Republican did vote against the bill, but later directed the House clerk to record a vote in the affirmative.

The margin remained 127-44: no belated course corrections are relative to the success or failure of legislation. They’re merely window dressing.

“If it doesn’t change the tally, how disingenuous is it for any representative to be claiming that he’s changed his vote?” Caldwell told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday. “If you can’t change the impact, it’s not a changed vote. In reality, [Bryd] voted no and issued a footnote that says she wishes she’d voted yes.”

Caldwell estimates that roughly one-third of lawmakers have likewise indulged. See if yours is among them:

- James Richardson