MIDLAND, Mich. — Michigan’s 38 senators and 110 representatives missed 3,072 roll call votes in 2020, according to the Missed Votes Report. The information was compiled by Jack McHugh, editor of MichiganVotes.org, a project of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
Three senators and 15 representatives missed 50 or more votes in 2020. But 15 senators and 54 representatives missed no votes this year.
The 3,072 missed votes in 2020 is understandably higher than recent years, as a number of lawmakers either spent time in quarantine or contracted the COVID-19 virus during the ongoing worldwide pandemic. Michigan lawmakers missed just 768 roll call votes in 2019.
Excluding purely procedural votes, the Senate held 632 roll call votes in 2020 and the House 649, for a total of 1,281 roll call votes by the entire Legislature. In 2019, there were 1,614 roll call votes taken by both legislative bodies.
The number of missed votes has fallen dramatically since 2001-02, the first legislative session covered by MichiganVotes.org. Over that two-year period, individual Michigan lawmakers failed to cast a roll call vote 21,162 times.
“The number of missed votes could have been a lot higher given the epidemic,” said McHugh. “Legislative leaders and members had to overcome many obstacles to schedule and show up for daily sessions.”
Typically missed votes occur when family, health or personal issues require a lawmaker’s absence for an entire day or longer. Occasionally a legislator does not vote on a particular bill due to a potential conflict of interest. Voters should ask and not make assumptions if their own representatives have more than a few missed votes.
Missed votes tallies are just a small piece of the information MichiganVotes.org provides the public. The searchable database has every bill and all the votes for every Michigan state legislator. It contains plain-English descriptions of more than 38,000 bills introduced since 2001 and more than 35,000 record roll call votes.
The service was started to help citizens make more informed voting decisions, and its main benefit has been increased transparency and accountability. The site’s database now contains 20 years’ worth of legislators’ votes — complete records of the full legislative careers of many lawmakers.
Correction: A previous edition of this report included some 2019 missed votes with those in 2020. The online database shows the correct figures and this report has been updated to reflect them.
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