That Washington

Rep. Smith Breaks with Democrats on Charters. Momentarily.

By Lummy Lin September 14, 2011

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 365-54 to pass a bill granting federal funding to states seeking to replicate successful charter schools. Breaking with the rest of Washington State's Democratic delegation, Rep. Adam Smith (D-9) voted 'yes.' (Washington's Republican delegation voted 'yes' all across the board.)

Smith's vote is surprising, not just because it goes against his own Democratic crowd. Charter schools have fought a losing battle in Washington state, where ballot initiatives authorizing their existence have been rejected by voters three times since 1996.

However, Rep. Smith's office had this response to my inquiry about his vote:
The Congressman intended to vote 'No' on the charter schools bill and is submitting a correction for the record.

His spokesperson has not yet responded to questions about how the error was made, or if constituents contacted Rep. Smith about the vote. So was it an honest mistake? I'm just the intern, so I'll plead ignorance, but when I read the email out loud to my grizzled veteran colleagues, they laughed.

UPDATE: In response to my question about how the error was made, Rep. Smith's spokesperson, Libby Denkmann, has informed me that Rep. Smith was in a hurry to get to the vote floor after a meeting with the Secretary of Defense. According to her, "the mistake was quickly recognized and a correction has been submitted, should show up in the record tomorrow."
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