No business can be transacted in either house unless one-third or more of the total membership is present, and no business can take place in a committee unless at least one-half of its members are present.
In each house, all matters are decided by a majority vote of those present, except as elsewhere provided for in the Constitution. In the case of a tie, the speaker casts the deciding vote.
There are three different types of voting:
The names of the members and their votes are entered in the minutes. Voting by proxy or pairing is not permitted. If a member is present but unable to reach the ballot boxes on the rostrum because of illness or disability, one of the secretaries of the house will cast the vote for the member.
- Oral (asking aloud whether or not there are any objections) - This is used when the question seems neither to be grave nor to arouse strong opposition.
- Standing - The speaker asks those in favor of a question to rise. After comparing the number of those who are on their feet with that of those who are seated, the speaker declares the result to the house.
- Open ballot - This method is frequently used for important bills. In cases where the speaker finds it difficult to ascertain whether the members standing are in the majority or not, or when one-fifth or more of the members present have raised an objection to the speaker's declaration, he or she shall put the matter to a vote by open ballot. Voting is also done by open ballot when the speaker deems it necessary or one-fifth or more of the members present demand it. When a vote by open ballot is being taken, all entrances to the chamber are closed. Members who are in favor of the bill cast white ballot slips inscribed with their names, and those who are in opposition cast blue ballot slips inscribed with their names; the slips are placed into ballot boxes on the rostrum.
In each committee, all matters are decided by a majority vote of the members present. In the case of a tie, the chairman casts the deciding vote. Regarding the method of voting in committee meetings, there has never been a single instance of an open ballot taking place; oral voting or voting by standing is used. In addition, voting by a show of hands is usually employed in committee meetings of the House of Councillors and sometimes in the Rules and Administration Committee of the House of Representatives.
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