Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 29, 2015

Voting by Electronic Device — in the Senate?

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

May the days of the Senate clerks calling the roll be coming to an end?

Senate floor watchers have heard the regular reading of the names of senators during roll call votes, for many years leading off with “Mr. Akaka,” until the retirement of Hawaii Democrat Daniel K. Akaka at the end of the last Congress. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., now holds the distinction.

Back in January, one of the Senate clerks actually kicked off a quorum call with Akaka’s name, even though his term had ended.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday that he was open to a bit of increased efficiency, potentially replacing the manual calling of the roll with electronic voting devices like the system used in the House since 1973, which involves cards and push buttons.

“Maybe someday we could set up a system similar to what they have in the House,” Reid told the editorial board of the Las Vegas Sun. “I wouldn’t be opposed to that.”

Reid added that he did not really expect a technological revolution, however.

“At this stage, I don’t see it changing in the near future,” he said.

Such a move, however unlikely, would make it possible for the Senate to move through roll call votes much more quickly. During long sequences of votes, such as during the “vote-a-rama” that comes along with flood debate on a budget resolution, each vote usually takes 10 minutes or more. The House, which has has 435 members as compared to the Senate’s 100, can churn through two-minute votes when considering lots of amendments.

Making votes move more quickly increases the chances that lawmakers will cast votes in error, however. Senators already seek and receive unanimous consent on a somewhat regular basis to change votes after-the-fact, when it will not change the outcome.

Comments (11)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

author email

  1. Liberalism Is Nonsense

    Dec. 5, 2013
    7:35 p.m.

    Since liberty allowed only when its results are thought to be beneficial is not liberty at all, we cannot maximize liberty’s benefits if it is forbidden when its uses appear undesirable.

  2. Andres Godoy

    Dec. 17, 2013
    10:29 a.m.

    Is importante that the electronic vote become safe and easy to use for everyone. Is important for the economies and all the sectors (not only goverment)

  3. Anonymous

    July 19, 2015
    11:05 a.m.

    You got a very fantastic website, Sword lily I detected it through yahoo.

  4. Anonymous

    July 21, 2015
    6:58 a.m.

    Good – I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related information ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, site theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Nice task..

  5. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    9:44 a.m.

    It¦s really a great and helpful piece of info. I¦m satisfied that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    11:23 p.m.

    I believe this web site has got some real great info for everyone : D.

  7. Anonymous

    July 28, 2015
    9:58 a.m.

    I do enjoy the way you have framed this difficulty plus it does present me personally a lot of fodder for consideration. However, because of just what I have seen, I basically hope as the actual responses pile on that men and women keep on issue and don’t embark on a soap box regarding some other news of the day. Anyway, thank you for this superb point and whilst I do not really agree with it in totality, I value your standpoint.

  8. Anonymous

    July 30, 2015
    4:59 p.m.

    It’s really a great and helpful piece of info. I’m glad that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Anonymous

    July 31, 2015
    11:39 a.m.

    I am always invstigating online for ideas that can aid me. Thx!

  10. Anonymous

    Aug. 12, 2015
    5:47 p.m.

    A person essentially help to make seriously articles I would state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and thus far? I surprised with the research you made to create this particular publish extraordinary. Magnificent job!

  11. Anonymous

    Aug. 25, 2015
    10:53 p.m.

    I’ve been surfing online greater than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s beautiful price enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made good content material as you probably did, the web will be much more helpful than ever before.

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...