Craig Zucker Should Recuse Himself
An interesting bit of business will likely come down the pike this week when freshly-minted State Senator Craig Zucker gets to vote to override the Governor’s veto allowing convicted felons who have not completed their sentence to vote. Again.
Zucker of course already cast a vote in favor of overriding Governor Hogan’s veto as a member of the House of Delegates. And now that he has been appointed to the State Senate, he may have the opportunity to do so again.
One of the reason’s that Zucker’s vote is so important in all of this is the fact that Senate President Mike Miller has been incapable of getting to 29 “yes” votes on a veto override without him. While Miller was able to whip enough Democrats in line to vote for the other veto overrides, Miller has not been quite able to get there on this one. Which shouldn’t be surprising, considering that we’re talking about allowing criminals who are still on probation and have not completed their debt to society to have their voting rights restored. After Governor Hogan’s 2014 victory, the Democrats will go to any lengths to try to change the rules, and Miller so far has been unable to get 3/5 of the Senate to agree with him. He kept delaying the vote until he could get one more yes-man like Zucker to be appointed and to go along with it.
There’s some questionable legality as to whether or not Zucker can actually vote twice on this bill, as Michael Dresser reports:
Sandra B. Brantley, counsel to the legislature, said it’s up to the Senate to determine if Zucker is eligible to vote on the veto override. Democrats outnumber Republicans 32-15 in that chamber.
She added one caveat, saying that a single legislator voting twice on the same matter “creates an overlap between the two houses” that is in tension with the state constitution’s requirement that the two branches be “distinct.”
So naturally, the majority Democratic Senate will decide that Zucker is fully qualified to vote.
Given the unusual nature of the Constitutionality of this issue, we cannot be certain that Zucker is qualified to vote on this or any other matter which he also voted for as a member of the House of Delegates. For that reason, Senator Zucker should recuse himself from voting on the issue of Governor Hogan’s overrides. You and I don’t get to vote twice, once in early voting and once on election day. Senator Zucker shouldn’t get to either.