Ultimately, it appears the timestamp of last night’s Texas abortion bill (SB5) vote killed the legislation after what may have been an attempt at possibly illegal shenanigans arrested by social media.
The Texas abortion bill timestamp controversy, dubbed “timestampgate,” trended alongside SB5 as Twitter users watched developments late into the night of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis’ filibuster.
Initially, it was announced that a vote on SB5 had passed and Davis’ lengthy stand had been for naught — but then Twitter sleuths unearthed an interesting find on official records of the vote posted on the internet.
The first screen captures of the SB5 vote showed a date displaying “06/26/2013,” falling past the deadline of June 25 at midnight.
The page reportedly went down, and when it returned, several prominent users noticed something funny — the date had magically changed to “06/25/2013,” conveniently solving the issue of the vote’s contested legitimacy for Republicans in the state.
Or did it? Reaction was immediate and vocal, and prominent journalists like Matthew Keys pointed out the seemingly illegal inconsistency.
As The Daily Dot explains, the story is really best told through the tweets that broke it, preventing the measure from possibly being passed through trickery and deceit. Several well-distributed voices boosted the signal and posted:
Now @CBSNews is in on it. Over 170,000 of us watched the Texas GOP *Break the Senate rules*, and mainstream media is ignoring that fact.
— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) June 26, 2013
And a petition was made, already having garnered 20,000 signatures despite the vote’s almost immediate reversal. Users lucky enough to have “verified” stamps openly questioned the SB5 vote’s legitimacy and the apparent timestampgate change, giving visibility to the issue that seemed to immediately reverse the claim by Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst about its passage:
— Juan Chuy Hinojosa (@TxChuy) June 26, 2013
Even Wikipedia vandals got in on the controversy:
Wikipedia trolls, do yr thing RT @johnathan_coby Senator who chaired the #SB5 vote is getting no love from Wikipedia pic.twitter.com/A9kqkSoQvp
— Cassandra (@cleveil1) June 26, 2013
And users cited laws that seem to suggest what may have happened may indeed be illegal:
Your relevant Texas statute in regard to tampering with official government records: http://t.co/Eg0KtR8eCa
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) June 26, 2013
It is not yet clear whether Timestampgate or what appears to be the alteration of the timestamp on Texas abortion bill SB5’s vote will prompt an investigation into the apparent attempt to push a vote through past its deadline.