MichiganVotes.org Takes Accountability to a New Level: 16 Years, 30,000 Bills, 26,517 Votes

Web resource makes it harder for politicians to talk-the-talk back home but not walk-the-walk in Lansing

With the close of the 2015-16 Michigan Legislature, MichiganVotes.org completes its 16th year of describing all the bills and all the votes cast by every state lawmaker. Over this period the site has provided concise, plain-English descriptions of 30,852 bills, 26,517 roll call votes, 20,562 amendments 5,804[*] new laws, and 69,178 votes that individual legislators missed.

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The site allows users to search and sort these proposals in useful ways. For example, a person can look up his or her representative’s votes on all bills in the “tax” category that contain the word “increase,” or all “education” bills with the words “charter school.”

Thanks to MichiganVotes.org, every Michigan lawmaker who has served during the past 16 years now has an easily uncovered “permanent record” of their actions. This has made it much more difficult for politicians to say one thing back in the district, cast contrary votes in Lansing, and get away with it because nobody told the folks back home.

The value of the site’s database grows with each additional year. With term limits, the information warehouse contains the complete legislative careers of hundreds of legislators who have served their allotted time. Many of these politicians have and will move on to other positions in government, but wherever they go, their legislative record will follow them on MichiganVotes.org.

The site also allows users to create custom voting record “scorecard” spreadsheets, rating all 148 lawmakers on whatever issue or ideological standard they choose. (Here’s a recent example created by the MIRS news site, and here’s an older one created by a tea party group.)

Finally, a “Weekly Roll Call Vote Report” tells newspapers how their local lawmakers voted on just the most interesting, important or newsworthy bills of the previous week.

(Note: Portions of this post have been published in previous articles on this site.)

[*]This is not the final count through 2016.