Maine’s congressional delegation shows up for the vast majority of votes.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, has missed 3.1 percent of votes in Congress, while U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District, has missed 0.7 percent. That’s based on an analysis of congressional absences by investigative newsroom ProPublica released today, which also details the reasons for many absences.

Pingree, who was sworn in to Congress in 2009, has missed 156 out of 5,031 votes. Poliquin, who began his first term this year, has missed four out of 581 votes.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins, meanwhile, has never missed a vote since 1997. Independent Sen. Angus King has missed 1.6 percent (15 out of 951) since starting in 2013.

Most members of Congress miss few votes like Maine’s delegation, but there are a few outliers. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is running in the Republican presidential primary, has missed the most votes by far in that chamber — about a third.

Other candidates have missed a number of votes, too. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has missed 27 percent of votes this year; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has missed 23.9 percent. Meanwhile, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has missed 4.8 percent, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has missed 3.4 percent.

As ProPublica explains, lawmakers in the House — though not the Senate — have a chance to record explanations for their missed votes or how they would have voted if they had been present (though it doesn’t add or change their vote). The custom has been in place since at least 1845.

Representatives aren’t mandated to file the explanations, but they do offer a window into lawmakers’ lives and work.

As ProPublica wrote:

The reasons lawmakers cite most for missing votes range from the mundane (travel delays, often due to weather, or remaining in their districts for job fairs) to more personal (the birth of a child or a graduation ceremony or illness). Lawmakers have missed more than 2,000 votes for medical reasons, and thousands more for personal and family reasons.”

Pingree has not given explanations for missed votes. Poliquin has submitted one statement, but he gave no clear reason for his absence, saying he was “unavoidably detained.”

Check out the full report here.


Erin Rhoda

Erin Rhoda is the editor of Maine Focus, a team that conducts journalism investigations and projects at the Bangor Daily News. She also writes for the newspaper, often centering her work on issues of sexual...