A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

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Legislators Missed More Than 1,000 Votes in 2013

Down from 21,000 when MichiganVotes.org started in 2001

Michigan Senators and Representatives missed 1,093 votes in 2013, which in total was lower than 2012, but higher on a percentage basis because fewer votes were taken this year compared to last.

The information on Michigan's 38 senators and 110 representatives is compiled on the Missed Votes Report at MichiganVotes.org.

The Senate took 665 roll call votes. The House took 591 in 2013, not counting purely procedural votes. Last year, 2,234 votes were missed. Legislators are missing far fewer votes today than in years past. In the 2001-2002 legislative session, legislators missed a total of 21,162 votes.

"The days of some legislators no longer showing up for work are long past," Jack McHugh, editor of MichiganVotes.org and senior legislative analyst at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said in a press release. "Legislators' habits changed almost immediately when MichiganVotes.org began making this information easily accessible."

MichiganVotes.org was launched in 2001.

One senator and three representatives missed 50 or more votes in 2013. Nine senators and 71 representatives missed no votes.

McHugh said that in most cases missed votes occur when legislators are called off the floor to address other legislative demands or when serious family or personal issues force a legislator to take a day or more off from work.

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

While large numbers of missed votes get people’s attention, McHugh said voters should be more concerned about the votes their legislators actually do take.

"Too many of these votes appear to serve the system ahead of the people," he said.

The full Missed Votes Report can be sorted by legislator name or the number of missed votes. MichiganVotes.org provides brief, plain-English descriptions of all bills introduced in the Michigan Legislature. 

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