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Jerry Cornfield | jcornfield@heraldnet.com
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 10:51 a.m.

New report shows missing votes is bipartisan

Four Snohomish County lawmakers – two Republicans and two Democrats – are among those who missed the most votes in this year's regular and special sessions.

Nine others are among the 61 legislators who didn't miss any of the hundreds of votes cast in the House of Representatives and Senate in 2012.

That's according to a report released today by Washingtonvotes.org, a free public service website which tracked the flow of 1,699 bills introduced in 2012.

You can find a database of results for any single year here or you can go here to see the totals for 2012 with responses from some of those who missed the most votes.

Rep. Glenn Anderson, R-Fall City, led both chambers with 95 missed votes followed by Sen. Cheryl Pflug, R-Maple Valley, with 64.

Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, missed 56 votes, including the final ones during the last night of the special session. That was the largest number of the 21 lawmakers who represent part of Snohomish or Island counties.

Rep. Mike Hope, R-Lake Stevens, missed 50 votes, followed by Rep. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, with 41 and Rep. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds, with 30.

Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline, did not miss any votes in the Senate where every tally is done by a roll call at which members must be present. She is the only senator of the Snohomish County delegation with a perfect record.

In the House, where members can push a button to vote for each other, several representatives didn't miss any roll call votes. They were: Republican Reps. Barbara Bailey of Oak Harbor, Norma Smith of Clinton, Kirk Pearson of Monroe and Dan Kristiansen of Snohomish, and Democrats Ruth Kagi of Lake Forest Park, John McCoy of Tulalip, Mike Sells of Everett and Hans Dunshee of Snohomish.

WashingtonVotes.org contacted the five legislators from each chamber who missed the most votes and gave them an opportunity to explain why they missed votes. Stevens and Hope did not respond.

Anderson told Washingtonvotes.org, “I missed a number of votes due to prior business and personal commitments.”

Pflug's response went a bit longer. She told the organization: “Stepping out of the Senate chamber to talk with the governor or constituents is the most common reason I miss votes. It took a great deal of time to secure support for the Medicaid-fraud bill I negotiated this year, but that bill is law now, and to me it was worth every second. Of course, I keep an eye on the voting calendars for contentious bills and am careful to be present when my vote is crucial.”

WashingtonVotes.org Director Sonya Phillips said in a press release that “There are a many reasons why legislators miss votes, such as other public service or business obligations, legislative negotiations, and medical and family emergencies.

“While it's true that during the special sessions added this year, there was often little notice given for floor sessions, legislators are still expected to be a voice for those who elect them by voting on legislation that will have an effect on the lives of their constituents,” Phillips said.
Story tags » GovernmentStateLegislaturePoliticsDemocratic PartyRepublican Party

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