Voice Vote - Is it a secret vote?

Typically, the presiding officer would make it clear that members understand the effect of a yes or no vote. He or she would ask for those in favor first and then those against, and make a decision based on the number of voices. This can then be challenged. If challenged, it must be agreed to by a majority of the members. Members can then demand a *recorded vote (roll call)* or a *division vote.* For information regarding recorded votes and division votes, see their respective entries. As a result of the anonymous manner of the voice vote, no names or number can be recorded and therefore, the record would say something like "unanimously approved by Voice Vote." Voice votes are usually used for uncontroversial matters, but at times, this is not the case. As a matter of fact, some controversial matters have even been voted using voice vote. This is usually done by members for "political cover." A good example of this was HR 1302 (The Global Poverty Act of 2007), which was sponsored by Rep. Adam Smith(D-Washington). This bill would require the president to develop and implement a comprehensive stretegy that would extend the US foreign policy to include the elimination of extreme global poverty and force the United States to help the United Nations reach its goal to reduce poverty by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than a dollar per day. This would not only increase the overall spending on Humanitarian Aid but also increase taxes, essentially adding a global tax on American citizens. In addition to getting rid of poverty, the bill would have also allowed the United Nations to force the United States and other nations to ban "small arms and light weapons" (a violation of our Second Amendment) as well as ratify a series of treaties, including the International Criminal Court Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol (a global warming treaty), and others. Although the bill only had 84 co-sponsors in the House, it was surprisingly brought up on the House floor on September 25, 2007 and was passed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) via voice vote. According to the aim.org, voice vote was used for this bill because most members didn't realize what exactly was in it. In addition to this confusion, sponsors even made it a point to not calculate the amount of foreign aid spending it would require so that it would pass easily. Meanwhile, House Republicans were caught off-guard and were unaware that the pro-U.N. measure committed the United States to sending so much money overseas. The Senate version of the bill, co-sponsored by now President Barack Obama, now Vice President Joe Biden (former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee), and Republican Senator Dick Lugar of Indiana, passed through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but was never scheduled for a vote in the full Senate and eventually died as a result.

Posted by Anthony Kraljic on 05/25

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