38. Voting. Whenever from the nature of the question it permits of no modification or debate, the Chairman immediately puts it to vote; if the question is debatable, when the Chairman thinks the debate has been brought to a close, he should inquire if the assembly is ready for the question, and if no one rises he puts the question to vote. There are various forms for putting the question, in use in different parts of the country. The rule in Congress, in the House of Representatives, is as follows: "Questions shall be distinctly put in this form, to-wit: 'As many as are of the opinion that (as the question may be) say Aye;' and after the affirmative voice is expressed, 'As many as are of the contrary opinion, say No.'" The following form is very common: "It has been moved and seconded that (here state the question). As many as are favor of the motion say Aye; those opposed, No." Or, if the motion is for the adoption of a certain resolution, after it has been read the Chairman can say, "You have heard the resolution read; those in favor of its adoption will hold up the right hand; those opposed will manifest it by the same sign." These examples are sufficient to show the usual methods of putting a question, the affirmative being always put first.
When a vote is taken, the Chairman should always announce the result in the following form: "The motion is carried--the resolution is adopted," or, "The ayes have it--the resolution is adopted." If, when he announces a vote, any member rises and states that he doubts the vote, or calls for a "division," the
Chairman shall say, "A division is called for; those in favor of the motion will rise." After counting these, and announcing the number, he shall say, "Those opposed will rise." will count these, announce the number, and declare the result; that is, whether the motion is carried or lost. Instead of counting the vote himself, he can appoint tellers to make the count and report to him. When tellers are appointed, they should be selected from both sides of the question. A member has the right to change his vote (when not made by ballot) before the decision of the question has been finally and conclusively pronounced by the Chair, but not afterwards.
Until the negative is put, it is in order for any member, in the same manner as if the voting had not been commenced, to rise and speak, make motions for amendment or otherwise, and thus renew the debate; and this, whether the member was in the assembly room or not when the question was put and the vote partly taken. In such case the question is in the same condition as if it had never been put.
No one can vote on a question affecting himself, but if more than one name is included in the resolution (though a sense of delicacy would prevent this right being exercised, excepting when it would change the vote) all are entitled to vote; for if this were not so, a minority could control an assembly by including the names of a sufficient number in a motion, say for preferring charges against them, and suspend them, or even expel them from the assembly. When there is a tie vote the motion fails, without the Chairman gives his vote for the affirmative, which in such case he can do. Where his vote will make a tie, he can cast it and thus defeat the measure.
Another form of voting is by ballot. This method is only adopted when required by the constitution or by-laws of the assembly, or when the assembly has ordered the vote to be so taken. The Chairman, in such cases, appoints at least two tellers, who distribute slips of paper upon which each member, including the Chairman,* [Should the Chairman neglect to vote before the ballots are counted, he cannot then vote without the permission of the assembly.] writes his vote; the votes are then collected, counted by the tellers, and the result reported to the Chairman, who announces it to the assembly. The Chairman announces the result of the vote, in case of an election to office, in a manner similar to the following: "The whole number of votes cast is --; the number necessary for an election is --; Mr. A. received --; Mr. B. --; Mr. C. --. Mr. B. having received the required number is elected --." Where there is only one candidate for an office, and the constitution requires the vote to be by ballot, it is common to authorize the clerk to cast the vote of the assembly for such and such a person; if any one objects however, it is necessary to ballot in the usual way. So when a motion is made to make a vote unanimous, it fails if any one objects. In counting the ballots all blanks are ignored.
The assembly can by a majority vote order that the vote on any question be taken by Yeas and Nays.* [Taking a vote by yeas and nays, which has the effect to place on the record how each member votes, is peculiar to this country, and while it consumes a great deal of time, is rarely useful in ordinary societies. By the Constitution, one-fifth of the members present can, in either house of Congress, order a vote to be taken by yeas and nays, and to avoid some of the resulting inconveniences various rules and customs have been established, which are ignored in this Manual, as according to it the yeas and nays can only be ordered by a majority, which prevents its being made use of to hinder business. In representative bodies it is very useful, especially where the proceedings are published, as it enables the people to know how their representatives voted on important measures. In some small bodies a vote on a resolution must be taken by yeas and nays, upon the demand of a single member.] In this method of voting the Chairman states both sides of the question at once; the clerk calls the roll and each member as his name is called rises and answers yes or no, and the clerk notes his answer. Upon the completion of the roll call the clerk reads over the names of those who answered the affirmative, and afterwards those in the negative, that mistakes may be corrected; he then gives the number voting on each side to the Chairman, who announces the result. An entry must be made in the minutes of the names of all voting in the affirmative, and also of those in the negative.
The form of putting a question upon which the vote has been ordered to be taken by yeas and nays, is similar to the following: "As many as are in favor of the adoption of these resolutions will, when their names are called, answer yes [or aye]--those opposed will answer no." The Chairman will then direct the clerk to call the roll. The negative being put at the same time as the affirmative, it is too late, after the question is put, to renew the debate. After the commencement of the roll call, it is too late to ask to be excused from voting. The yeas and nays cannot be ordered in committee of the whole [§ 32].
39. Motions Requiring More than a Majority Vote.* [Where no rule to the contrary is adopted, a majority vote of the assembly, when a quorum [§ 43] is present, is sufficient for the adoption of any motion, except for the suspension of a rule, which can only be done by general consent, or unanimously. Congress requires a two-thirds vote for only the motions to suspend and to amend the Rules, to take up business out of its proper order, and to make a special order [see note to § 37].] The following motions shall require a two-thirds vote for their adoption, as the right of discussion, and the right to have the rules enforced, should not be abridged by a mere majority:
An Objection to the Consideration of a Question .............. § 15. To Take up a Question out of its proper order ................ § 13. To Suspend the Rules ......................................... § 18. The Previous Question ........................................ § 20. To Close or Limit Debate ..................................... § 37. To Amend the Rules (requires previous notice also) ........... § 43. To Make a special order ...................................... § 13.