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11 members have voted
My question is, who is doing her work while she recovers? If someone in another job is out on long term disability, a temp might be hired to cover for them, or their duties would be distributed amongst the remaining staff. However, she is supposed to be voting on things, and I expect, she is the only one the voter's authorized to cast ballots, so no one else can do it for her. Her website indicates that her "staff" is organizing events and following up on proposed legislation. There is no indication who these individuals are, nor how closely their efforts are actually coordinated with Representative Giffords.
Is this a problem? Should she step down, and let someone else do the job?
It reminds me somewhat of paralegals. I know from past jobs that paralegals do a LOT of the work. Sure, the attorney is important in their own right, but paralegals to quite a large bit of work. Enough so that, when I pick an attorney, I base it on whether or not I like the paralegal.
It's been my experience that most political offices are run by the "staff". The person that is the figurehead gets a lot of the credit, and maybe most of the ideas belong to that person, but the reality is that the staff does a lot of the work anyway, whether that person is injured or not.
While it may be true that the secretaries run the office, the original question said that voting is crucial to the job, and no one else should be allowed to vote. But the US government has deemed that unlike a senator, a representative cannot be replaced by an appointee. So I think they have simply decided to grin and bear it.
But with 400+ Representatives, could it be argued that it's less likely that a vote will occur where that ONE vote will be so crucial? And, if it appears that it might be so, I'm sure they could then find a way to Giffords in there to cast her vote.
The interesting thing for me would be if the feeling is that it's unlikely that anything will come up that makes her one vote matter. Which then leads me to people not voting in general elections because their one vote doesn't matter. If one vote of the 400+ Representatives doesn't much matter, then who can argue that one vote of the 300,000,000+ people does matter?