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Missed votes report


MIDLAND — Michigan’s 38 senators and 110 representatives missed a combined 1,055 recorded roll call votes in 2015 according to the Missed Votes Report compiled by Jack McHugh, editor of MichiganVotes.org.

Excluding purely procedural votes, the Senate voted 642 times and the House cast 504 votes, for a total of 1,146 possible votes. The number of missed votes in 2015 down from 1,093 votes last year and an astonishing 21,162 missed votes in the 2001-2002 legislative session, the year MichiganVotes.org began.

“The days of some legislators just not showing up for work are long past,” McHugh said. “Legislators’ habits changed almost immediately when MichiganVotes.org began making this information easily accessible to voters.”

Two senators and two representatives missed 50 or more votes in 2014. There were 14 senators and 65 representatives who missed no votes. The full report can be sorted by name or by the number of missed votes.

According to the report, the greater Cedar Springs area’s two representatives and senator—Rep. Rob Verheulen (Dist. 74), Rep. Chris Afendoulis (Dist. 74), and Senator Peter MacGregor (Dist. 78), are among those who did not miss any votes.

The total number of possible votes is also listed for each legislator. By clicking on a legislator’s name, users can see a brief, plain-English description of the actual votes he or she missed. Missed vote totals for previous sessions can be viewed by entering a different date range. McHugh noted that in most cases, missed votes occur when other demands within the legislative process call a lawmaker off the floor for a few minutes or when serious family or personal issues require an absence of an entire day or longer.

“Legislators are people, too,” McHugh said. “No one should jump to conclusions or assume bad faith, but if someone demonstrates a consistent pattern of missed votes for weeks on end, voters have a right to ask why.”

While large numbers of missed votes get people’s attention, McHugh notes the votes they don’t miss matter much more—and are the real focus of MichiganVotes.org’s different services.

“The searchable database with all the bills and all the votes of each and every legislator is just one way to promote accountability from those who represent us in Lansing,” McHugh said. “In addition, there is a free weekly roll call report for newspapers showing how local state legislators voted on key bills (which is also posted on Mackinac.org every week). There are also emails every session day for users who want to know about actions taken on subjects they choose.

The new VoteSpotter app alerts smartphone users about how their own state and federal lawmakers voted on key bills and allows subscribers to send a “one-touch” email giving feedback to their state representative or senator.

“State lawmakers are very attentive to feedback from constituents on a particular vote,” said Andrew Koehlinger, project director for VoteSpotter. “Legislative accountability begins with knowing how your representatives voted; telling them what you think of a vote takes it a step further.” You can download the app at www.votespotter.com.

MichiganVotes.org is searchable and sortable by legislator, category, keyword and more. It has described nearly 30,000 bills since 2001. The service was started to give citizens more information to help make democracy work better, and its main benefit has been increased transparency and accountability. The site’s database now contains 15 years’ worth of legislators’ votes — complete records of the full legislative careers of many lawmakers.

See the full report with each legislators’ missed votes totals at: http://www.michiganvotes.org/MissedVotes.aspx

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