Ghost voting, in this context, is when legislators vote for bills on behalf of other members who aren't actually present. I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I never knew about this practice until I watched John Oliver's 2/14/16 show focusing on voter ID laws. That was a while ago, but the recent events involving voting reminded me of this issue and I was curious whether anything had been done to solve this problem. Unfortunately, my research of google results turned up no significant information on recent steps taken by legislative bodies to prevent these practices.


Are there actual examples of steps taken to stop the practice of Ghost voting in any US state legislative body in recent years?

  • 1
    Compare to the Westminster practice of “pairing” for medical / childcare etc needs. Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 9:27
  • Would it be possible to include or link to more information about the "recent events involving voting" you are referencing? The only such events I can think of have to do with Midterm Elections, which does not seem relevant because the question is about legislators voting rather than citizens voting. Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 17:03
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    How is "ghost voting" any different from the very common practice of proxy voting?
    – Mark
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 21:26
  • This question and the answers to it overlap heavily with this previous question, which differs mostly by not presuming that "ghost voting" is a bad thing that should be stopped (a proposition which this post does really nothing to justify). politics.stackexchange.com/questions/26303/…
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 4:18
  • Possible duplicate of Are there countries where members of the legislative body are allowed to vote remotely?
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 4:18

1 Answer 1


I think the practice you are referring to is also called Proxy Voting. (+1 to Mark.)

The U.S. Senate has made rule changes to limit it, as I remember. I couldn't find a specific notice of the change, but this report from congressional research service will provide details; likely more details than you can shake a stick at.

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    "Ghost voting" would for the present question refer to illegal proxy voting. Re "The U.S. Senate has made rule changes to limit it..."": this phrasing tends to imply it's generally legal for Senators to proxy vote, but (outside of committees) it is not legal.
    – agc
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 17:03

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