Voting methods in deliberative assemblies

Deliberative assemblies – bodies that use parliamentary procedure to arrive at decisions – use several methods of voting on motions (formal proposal by a member or members of a deliberative assembly that the assembly take certain action). The regular methods of voting in such bodies are a voice vote, a rising vote, and a show of hands. Additional forms of voting include a recorded vote and balloting.

Regular methods

Voice vote

Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR) states that a voice vote (viva voce) is the usual method of voting on any motion that does not require more than a majority vote for its adoption.[1] It is considered the simplest and quickest of voting methods used by deliberative assemblies. The presiding officer or chair of the assembly will put the question to the assembly, asking first for those in favor of the motion to indicate so verbally ("aye" or "yes"), and then ask those opposed to the motion to indicate so verbally ("no"). The chair will then estimate which side had more members.

Rising vote

A simple rising vote (in which the number of members voting on each side stand, or "rise") is used principally in cases in which the chair believes a voice vote has been taken with an inconclusive result, or upon a motion to divide the assembly. A rising vote is also the normal method of voting on motions requiring a two-thirds vote for adoption. It can also be used as the first method of voting when only a majority vote is required if the chair believes in advance that a voice vote will be inconclusive.[2] The chair can also order the rising vote to be counted.[3]

Show of hands

A show of hands is an alternate to voice voting and can be used as the basic voting method in small boards or committees, and it is so used in other informal or small gatherings for voting.[3] It is more precise than a voice vote but does not require members to leave their seats. However, it does not count as a division of the assembly, and is not always as effective as a rising vote in causing a maximum number of members to vote who have not done so.[4]

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