WASHINGTON, D.C. — Club for Growth Foundation today released its Missed Votes Georgia scorecard for the General Assembly’s 2021 regular session. The newly launched Missed Votes Scorecards calculate how often lawmakers show up to vote and how often they miss votes.
According to Club for Growth Foundation President David McIntosh, “Constituents need to know the missed votes records of their representatives so they can decide for themselves if elected officials are avoiding a difficult vote or have a legitimate reason for missing a particular vote. Sadly, this information is often not available, and that is why the Club for Growth Foundation is publishing Missed Votes scorecards.”
Lawmakers miss votes for a whole host of reasons, including medical issues, family concerns, prior commitments, purely political motivations, or other reasons. The Club for Growth Foundation generally doesn’t analyze why a lawmaker has missed a vote and is simply publishing this quantified information for educational purposes only.
This scorecard is based on a review of all floor votes taken in the Georgia General Assembly from January 11, 2021 to April 1, 2021. There are inherent limitations in judging the overall qualifications of any legislator based on how many votes he or she has missed, and the Club for Growth Foundation does not endorse or oppose any legislator for public office.
The average Georgia senator missed 11 percent of 576 total floor votes, with Republican senators on average missing 6 percent of all floor votes and Democrat senators on average missing 17 percent of all floor votes. Sen. Horacena Tate (SD-38) missed all of the votes because she is undergoing medical treatment. Two members missed five votes for a total of 1 percent missed votes.
- Jason Anavitarte (SD-31)
- Kay Kirkpatrick (SD-32)
Georgia House of Representatives
The average Georgia House member missed 9 percent of 503 total floor votes, with Republican members on average missing 8 percent of all floor votes and Democrat members on average missing 12 percent of all floor votes. The late Rep. Mickey Stephens (HD-165) missed all votes due to an illness that kept him absent since 2019. By not missing a single vote, the following House member received a perfect attendance score:
- Eddie Lumsden (HD-12)
We asked lawmakers who missed at least 10% of the votes if they’d like us to include an explanation. Here are a few of the responses we received:
Rep. Karla Drenner (HD-85): If I missed votes it was because I was off the floor talking with colleagues, on the phone or maybe in the bathroom.
Rep. Matt Dubnik (HD-29): Thanks for your note and the chance to set the record straight. I was absent from the Capitol for a period of 10 days during the 2021 Legislative session due to a healthcare matter. I would be willing to bet 95% of votes I missed during the session occurred during this 10 day absence.
Rep. Chuck Efstration (HD-104): In 2021, I served as chairman of the Georgia House Judiciary Committee, one of the busiest committees at the Capitol which meets multiple times each week of session. I was responsible for meetings, bill drafting, and legislation review which sometimes required that I be off the floor during votes.
Rep. Carl Gilliard (HD-162): Thank you so much for reaching out and I must say that this session has been a very tedious one for me because I had a very sick child and I had to either go back and forth to Savannah always call back and forth out of session for phone calls etc. I do humbly apologize it’s not like my nature of stay away from the important business of the people. Please know as we move forward I’m blessed that she continues to recover and we continue to do our best to make sure we do the people’s work of Georgia.
Rep. Susan Holmes (HD-129): I broke two vertebrae in my back at end of Session and was out with surgery.
Rep. Jesse Petrea (HD-166): I had COVID for 2 weeks during session which likely accounted for some missed votes.
Sen. Blake Tillery (SD-19): Appropriations Chair- misses votes often for long conference committees on budget And missed 5 session days due to COVID quarantine.
Rep. Mary Frances Williams (HD-37): Thank you for the opportunity to explain my missed votes during the 2021 session. Although I am unsure of the exact dates I missed most if not all of a week in February because I was sick. I met with my doctor and was on an antibiotic. There were a few other days when I was sick and did not make it to the Capitol.
Many of the missed votes were due to the voting procedures in place for the 2021 session in Georgia. Legislators were in three separate locations and I was assigned to the Gallery, on the 4th floor of the Capitol. The House chamber is on the 3rd floor. If a House member was on the House floor speaking at the well or meeting with other House members and the Speaker called for the vote, there were times when I (and others) did not have enough time to jump in the elevator, race to the 4th floor and vote using our individual voting device before the voting was closed. This happened to me several times.
I always regret missing votes and again, am grateful for this opportunity to explain my voting record in 2021.
Rep. Bruce Williamson (HD-115): I did have one day of excused absence for personal business on March 1 missing 9 votes (none of which were contentious), but returned in time for the final vote of the day.