When the Speaker or the Chair announces that the yeas and nays are ordered and a recorded vote is ordered or announces that a quorum is not present and the yeas and nays are automatic, the vote is taken by electronic device. A Member casts a vote by electronic device by inserting a voting card into the nearest voting station and pressing the appropriate button: “yea,” “nay” or “present.” Members should also visually check the voting board to make sure that the light next to their name reflects their intended vote.
Members that do not have their electronic voting card should go to the table in the Well and obtain an appropriate voting card from the boxes placed there (green card for yea, red card for nay, orange card for present). The Member should sign the card and give it to the Tally Clerk who will be standing on the first level of the rostrum. The Clerk will then register the vote into the computer, but the Member should visually check the board to make sure the vote is recorded correctly.
Members deciding to change their vote may do so by reinserting their card into a voting station and pressing the appropriate button during the first 10 minutes of a 15-minute vote, or at any time during a 5- or 2-minute vote. However, during the last 5 minutes of a 15-minute vote, a change in a Member’s vote can only be made by going to the Well, taking a card from the table, signing it, and handing it to the Tally Clerk on the rostrum. The Clerk then registers the change and a statement will appear in the Congressional Record indicating that the Member changed his or her vote. Members using this procedure to change their vote should be sure to check the board to see that it reflects the change. Also, Members may change their vote during a 5- or 2-minute vote by machine and no statement about the change will appear in the Congressional Record unless it comes after the voting stations are closed and before the result of the vote is announced.
Once the recorded vote ends (by the Chair announcing the result), and the motion to reconsider is laid on the table, the vote is final — no further voting or changing is permitted. However, if a Member has missed the vote he or she may submit a statement declaring how he or she would have voted had he or she been present. Such an explanatory statement containing the Member’s original signature will be inserted in the Congressional Record at the point immediately after the vote. A suggested script for such an explanatory statement on missed or mistaken votes may be obtained from the Floor staff or Cloakroom. It is important to remember that this statement does not affect whether or how the Member is recorded on the vote.
The allotted time for a quorum call or recorded vote under the rules of the House is not less than 15 minutes (clause 2 of rule XX). It is the prerogative of the Speaker or presiding officer to allow additional time beyond the 15 minutes. One may hear Members calling “regular order” when an electronic vote extends beyond 15 minutes under the mistaken impression that recorded votes are limited to 15 minutes — they are not limited. The regular order is to allow more time on recorded votes if the Chair desires.
The Chair should allow all Members who are in the Well to vote before the final announcement to be recorded, but is not obliged to hold the vote open to accommodate requests through the Cloakrooms for Members “on their way” to the House Floor.
If several votes have been ordered and the Chair has announced that the time for voting will be reduced, the first vote in the series will consume not less than 15 minutes and all subsequent record votes will take not less than 5 minutes each. It is important for Members to be mindful of when a 5-minute vote is expected, so that it will not be missed.
In the event of a series of two or more votes in which any votes after the first one will be reduced to not less than five minutes, the Member will be summoned to the Floor by two bells followed by five bells.
In the 112th Congress, clause 6 of rule XVIII was modified to allow for 2-minute voting in the Committee of the Whole.
In the 113th Congress, clause 9 of rule XX was modified to allow for 5-minute voting on motions to recommit.
In the 116th Congress, clause 3 of rule III was modified to allow Delegates and the Resident Commissioner to cast non-decisive votes in the Committee of the Whole.
NOTE: H.Res. 8, the 117th Congress rules package, continued a separate order from the 116th Congress allowing Members to cast their votes by proxy during the pandemic emergency if they are unable to attend in person due to the emergency. This is not a change to the standing rules of the House, but rather a temporary measure for the safety of Members and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.