Roll call: Tracking missed votes in the 2021 legislative session
How many votes did lawmakers from Southwest Washington miss over the course of the 2021 state legislative session?
According to a tracker from the Washington Policy Center, they had pretty decent attendance records.
None of Clark County’s elected officials, for instance, missed as many votes as Ferndale Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen, who was absent for 53 of the 491 Senate roll call votes. They definitely weren’t gone as often as Sen. Jeff Holy, R-Cheney, who missed 63 (Holy missed most of those votes when he had to attend an out-of-state funeral for a family member, he told the WPC. Ericksen told the center he was absent because he was “in el Salvador monitoring their elections where they actually require Voter ID.”)
A handful of local legislators didn’t miss a single vote. Senators Annette Cleveland (D) and Lynda Wilson (R) fell into the perfect attendance club, along with House members Larry Hoff (R), Paul Harris (R) and Monica Stonier (D).
Our most-missed elected official was Republican Rep. Vicki Kraft, with 12 absent House roll call votes out of 484. Rep. Sharon Wylie (D) missed eight, Sen. Ann Rivers (R) missed four and Rep. Brandon Vick (R) missed 2.
None of Kraft’s missed votes were particularly close. Half passed unanimously or near-unanimously, and the rest sailed through on margins of 18 votes or more. Her missed votes include a bill to expand eligibility for the working families tax exemption, a bill to establish a new account for child care and early learning, and a bill to designate Washington as a state that honors Purple Heart recipients (that last one, unsurprisingly, passed 96-0).
Wylie’s missed votes also don’t appear to have had a significant impact on the session’s outcome. All of her absences were on bills that passed with generous margins of 25 votes or more — the closest was on a bill aimed at increasing transparency in contracts between hospitals and their care providers.
The Washington Policy Center is a conservative think-tank that releases a vote tracker annually as part of its watchdog WashingtonVotes project.
Update: Kraft emailed to let me know that her 12 missed votes occurred the same day as the death of her father-in-law.