Can a U.S. Senator block the Vice President from voting by not attending a vote and having the results be 49-50?



The U.S. Constitution states

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
I understand that if a Senator's vote is "Present" then it counts as a "No" in the tally, but what if the Senator doesn't attend the vote. There are votes in the Senate Vote tallys that do not add up to 100 votes, so it has happened in the past.

Vote Counts: YEAs 56
             NAYs 39 
       Not Voting  5
Roll Call Vote 115th Congress - 1st Session

Since this vote is not "equally divided" would the Vice President be able to vote (if it was 49-50).

Has this been under judicial review in the past?

Answer

If a Senator missed a vote (deliberately or not), and all other Senators are present and voting, it would deny the VP the opportunity to break a tie. However, there's no point to deliberately doing this.

Senator supports the measure, Senate is 50-49 without them.

If the Senator votes, the final vote would be 51-49. The VP is not needed to break a tie. Senator is happy.
If the Senator does not vote, the final vote would be 50-49. The vote passes without their help, and the VP is not needed to break a tie. Senator is happy.
Senator supports the measure, Senate is 49-50 without them.

If the Senator votes, the final vote would be 50-50. The VP would break the tie, whichever way the VP chooses. Senator is happy if the VP agrees.
If the Senator does not vote, the final vote would be 49-50. The vote fails, and the VP is not needed to break a tie. Senator is sad.
Senator opposes the measure, Senate is 50-49 without them.

If the Senator votes, the final vote will be 50-50. The VP would break the tie, whichever way the VP chooses. Senator is happy if the VP agrees.
If the Senator does not vote, the final vote would be 50-49. The vote passes, and the VP is not needed to break a tie. Senator is sad.
Senator opposes the measure, Senate is 49-50 without them.

If the Senator votes, the final vote will be 49-51. The vote fails, and the VP is not needed to break a tie. Senator is happy.
If the Senator does not vote, the final vote would be 49-50. The vote fails, and the VP is not needed to break a tie. Senator is happy.
TL;DR


In other words, choosing not to vote can only make a difference if the VP and Senator agree, and can only result in making the Senator sad. There is no scenario where the Senator is better off by not voting.


Can a U.S. Senator block the Vice President from voting by not attending a vote and having the results be 49-50? Can a U.S. Senator block the Vice President from voting by not attending a vote and having the results be 49-50? Reviewed by Hamza Bashir Ahmad on 20:43:00 Rating: 5