What Are the Types of Votes Accepted in Congress?

Legislators sometimes vote
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The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives each have their own rules for voting, with different rules applying to different voting situations. On any given vote, legislators can vote "aye" or "no." In some cases, legislators may avoid placing an aye or no vote by voting "present."

1 Senate

The Senate has two types of voting rules. The first, a voice vote, is used for legislation that is expected to pass with little opposition. For a voice vote, the chair of the Senate may call for all in favor to say "aye" followed by a call for all opposed to say "no" or may simply call for unanimous consent and pass the bill if no one voices opposition. The other method is a roll-call vote, in which each Senators name is called and each Senator votes "aye," "no" or "present."

2 House of Representatives

The House may use either of the methods used by the Senate, though roll-call votes are rare. Alternately, the House of Representatives may take a standing division vote or a recorded vote. Generally, the Speaker of the House chooses the voting method, though votes must be by the recorded method if one-fifth of Congress requests it. In a division vote, the "ayes" and "noes" are asked to stand. The results are counted and recorded, but records are not kept of how individual representatives voted. Recorded votes are taken by electronic device and records of individual representatives' voting are kept.

Dell Markey is a full-time journalist. When he isn't writing business spotlights for local community papers, he writes and has owned and operated a small business.