Jun 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

By the numbers: Proxy voting in House

House of Representatives votes by proxy
Data: Brookings Institution/Clerk of the House of Representatives; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) recently worked from home and voted by proxy after having knee replacement surgery, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says she will extend the practice for all members into August.

Why it matters: Congress instituted the system — allowing members to assign someone else to vote for them — as a precaution against spreading the coronavirus. Since then, its use in the House has vacillated, according to data from the House Clerk collected by the Brookings Institution.

  • Proxy voting has let members vote if they couldn't or chose not to show up in person because of COVID-19 or didn't want to return to the Capitol after the Jan. 6 attack, as Brookings researchers note.
  • It's also allowed lawmakers to cast a vote while dealing with long- and short-term health issues or while on family leave.

By the numbers: As of June 23, 43 members had active vote-by-proxy letters.

  • At the peak, 138 members had active letters.
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