WASHINGTON, D.C. — Club for Growth Foundation today released its Missed Votes Kentucky 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.
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.
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.”
This scorecard is based on a review of all floor votes taken in the Kentucky General Assembly from January 5, 2021 to March 30, 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 Kentucky senator missed 6 percent of 385 total floor votes, with Republican senators on average missing 3 percent of all floor votes and Democrat senators on average missing 17 percent of all floor votes. Sen. Denise Angel (SD-35) missed the most votes – 266 votes out of 385 – for a score of 69% missed votes. By not missing a single vote, the following senator received a perfect attendance score:
- Damon Thayer (SD-17)
Kentucky House of Representatives
The average Kentucky House member missed 7 percent of 428 total floor votes, with Republican senators on average missing 6 percent of all floor votes and Democrat senators on average missing 13 percent of all floor votes. Rep. John “Bam” Carney (HD-51) missed all 428 votes because, according to news reports, he is being treated for a medical condition. By not missing a single vote, the following house members received a perfect attendance score:
- Samara Heavrin (HD-18)
- Steve Sheldon (HD-17)
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:
Sen. Denise Harper Angel (SD-35): “My husband was diagnosed with bladder cancer at the beginning of 2021. He started chemo therapy treatments right away and due to his compromised immune system the oncologist did not advise my returning to the second half of the legislative session due to the COVID pandemic.
He was unable to get the COVID vaccine due to his diminished white blood cell count and his underlying condition. I attended virtually all my committee meetings but I was not allowed to vote. Once I became eligible to become fully vaccinated I returned to session and made up what I thought were the most significant votes.
If you check my record for the previous 16 years you will find that I have always had an exemplary voting record.
I appreciate the fact that you have given me the opportunity to address your questions and that you will print my explanation for your readers to review.”
Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo (HD-76): “I was voting from my office and sometimes, the technology didn’t work. A few times, I had run to the ladies room. One day, Wednesday, February 10th, I was ill. I appreciate your contacting me.”
Rep. Steve Riley (HD-23): “I did miss votes on the last two days of session because my mother passed away the day preceding the last two days of session. I am sure my vote total would still be way over 90%. Many of the votes on the last two days were veto overrides of bills that I had already voted on.”