Proxy Threat

Americans to Congress – Show up to vote!

A new poll by America’s New Majority Project reveals Americans believe proxy voting is a threat to democracy and want a return to rules requiring members of Congress vote in person.

  • Congress allowed proxy voting to limit in-person interactions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, House rules requiring masks, social distancing and other restrictions have been lifted, but proxy voting has remained.

HOW IT WORKS – To cast their vote by proxy, members must sign a letter stating that they are “unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency” and are designating another member to vote on their behalf. A separate letter must be submitted for each vote with instructions on whether to vote yeah or nay.  

THE NUMBERS – When explained how proxy voting worked, opposition was overwhelming and bipartisan. Furthermore, those who oppose proxy voting believe the issue is more important than those who believe it should continue.

  • 67% of registered voters say Members of Congress should be required to cast their own votes, compared to 19% who say proxy voting should be allowed and 14% are not sure.
    • Opposition to proxy voting was even stronger with Likely Voters, with 76% saying members should be required to cast their own votes and just 17% saying proxy voting should continue.
    • Republicans and Republican leaners oppose proxy voting the most (78%) but majorities of Democrats and Democrat leaners (60%) and Independents (53%) also want members to be required to vote in person.  
  • 67% of those who say members should required to cast their own votes say the issue is “very important” compared to just 32% of those who say proxy voting should be allowed to continue.
  • 64% of those surveyed said proxy voting was a “threat to democracy” versus just 15% who said it was legitimate.

WHY IT MATTERS – Records show that proxy voting is being used for the sake of convenience rather than for public health. More proxy votes are cast on days when members fly back to their district, and several proxy votes have been cast while members are on vacation.

  • Proxy voting has become an issue in some Congressional campaigns. For instance, Representative Cindy Axne (IA-3) has been criticized for casting her vote for the Inflation Reduction Act while in Paris, France on vacation. (Read Newt Gingrich’s recent column.)

Nancy Pelosi has been able to take advantage of proxy voting to enact ambitious liberal legislation and maintain control of her caucus despite just an 8-seat majority in Congress.

This poll of 1,200 Registered Voters for America’s New Majority Project was conducted by Scott Rasmussen from September 6-October 8, 2022