Chapter 8

HAWAII LEGISLATORS' HANDBOOK

VOTING

A majority of the number of members to which each house is entitled shall constitute a quorum of such house for the conduct of ordinary business, of which quorum a majority vote shall suffice; but the final passage of a bill in each house shall require the vote of a majority of all the members to which such house is entitled taken by ayes and noes and entered upon its journal. . . . (Hawaii Const. art. III, ß13)

The vote on the business before either house of the Legislature may be taken by any of several methods depending on the measure or motion before the body. (Senate Rules 70, 71; House Rules 51, 52)

Voice Vote

The least formal way for members to express their collective opinion is through an oral, uncounted vote; this is the usual and ordinary method of voting. Generally, the presiding officer, when there is a motion before the body, asks those members in favor of the motion to say "aye" in unison. The presiding officer then asks those members opposed to the motion to say "no". Based on the presiding officer's decision on which side seems to be in the majority, the presiding officer announces the result of the vote. In the event that the result of a voice vote is disputed, members may call for a more formal method of voting.

Vote by Raising of Hands

When voting by the raising of hands, the presiding officer states the question before the body and asks the members in favor to raise their hands. After the Clerk counts the raised hands of those in favor of the motion, the presiding officer asks the members opposed to the motion to raise their hands.

Vote by Standing or Rising

In calling for a standing vote on a motion before a body, the procedure is similar to other voting methods except that the members cast their vote by rising. The presiding officer again states the question before the body and asks the members in favor to rise. After counting the number in favor, those opposed are asked to rise.

Vote by Roll Call

When voting by roll call, the presiding officer states the motion before the body and directs the Clerk to call the roll of members. The members are directed to respond to their name with either an "aye" or a "no". Each vote is recorded by the Clerk in the Journal.

Voting by Unanimous Consent

Voting by unanimous consent is an expedient method of voting, similar to a voice vote. On the question before the body, the presiding officer asks if there is any objection and, none being voiced, announces that the motion passes by unanimous consent. Unanimous consent is frequently used when a great number of measures to which no opposition is voiced have to be passed.

Since 1995, the Senate has allowed voting via a consent calendar. Noncontroversial bills or routine bills which have no objection are placed at the third or final reading on a Consent Calendar and can be voted on at one time on the floor. This saves time. Senators have until 5:00 p.m. of the preceding day to ask that a particular bill be removed from the Consent Calendar.

Voting by Modified Consent Calendar (House of Representatives)

While not specified in the rules, the House frequently employs an expedited voting method using a "modified consent calendar" for a series of noncontroversial bills. The Majority Floor Leader and Minority Floor Leader will record the votes of the members in their respective caucuses before third reading or final reading on bills is taken up on the floor. The Majority Floor Leader then offers a motion to suspend the rules for the purpose of considering bills on third or final reading on the basis of a modified consent calendar which is seconded by the Minority Floor Leader. As bills on the calendar are considered, the Majority and Minority Floor Leaders will announce the votes of their caucuses, specifically naming only those members casting no votes.

Voting Rights of Members

No member may refrain from voting unless excused by the presiding officer. In the Senate a member may vote "kanalua" (undecided) or pass the first time the member's name is called by the Clerk on any vote, but if the member responds "kanalua" or remains silent the next time the member's name is called, the member's vote is recorded as "aye". (Senate Rule 71(1)) In the House of Representatives, a member responding "kanalua" or remaining silent three times has the member's vote recorded as "aye". (House Rule 52.8)

The presiding officer may excuse a legislator from voting upon any question where the legislator has any monetary interest in the result, or which affects the legislator's right or title to a seat in the Legislature, or where the legislator's official conduct is involved. A member is required to rise and orally disclose such interest to the presiding officer for a conflict- of-interest ruling. (Senate Rule 71(2); House Rule 52.5)

After the results of a vote are announced by the presiding officer, no member may change the member's vote. (Senate Rule 71(4); House Rule 52.7) At any time, one-fifth of the members present may request a roll call vote. (Hawaii Const. art. III, ß12; Senate Rule 70(5); House Rule 52.3)

Required Vote

A quorum of each house consists of a majority of the members to which each house is entitled. For the conduct of ordinary business, a majority vote of the quorum satisfies the vote requirement. Third or final reading of a bill, however, requires a vote of the majority of all the members to which each house is entitled. (Hawaii Const. art. III, ß13; Senate Rules 33, 49(2); House Rules 21, 36.2) Other voting requirements are:

Amendment of rules           Majority of membership in Senate;
                             2/3 of membership in House  (Senate
                             Rule 85(1); House Rule 57)
Suspension of rules          Unanimous consent in Senate; 2/3 of
                             membership in House  (Senate Rule
                             85(2); House Rule 58)
Third or final reading       2/3 of membership for special
                             purpose revenue bond enabling
                             legislation and bond authorizations
                             (Hawaii Const. art. VII, ß12)
                             2/3 of membership for appropriations
                             in excess of general fund
                             expenditure  ceiling  (Hawaii Const.
                             art. VII, ß9)
                             2/3 of membership for constitutional
                             amendment to be presented to
                             electorate at next succeeding
                             general election after 10 days'
                             notice to Governor, or, without
                             notice, by majority vote of each
                             house at each of two successive
                             sessions. (Hawaii Const. art. XVII,
                             ß3);
                             Majority of membership for all other
                             bills  (Hawaii Const. art. III, ß13)
Adoption of resolution       Majority of membership

Overriding a veto 2/3 of membership (Hawaii Const. art. III, ß17) Suspension or expulsion 2/3 of membership (Hawaii Const. art. III, ß12) of member

Approval of executive Majority of membership of Senate nominations

Recall of bills 1/3 of membership (Hawaii Const. art. III, ß12) Extension of session 2/3 of membership (Hawaii Const. art. III, ß10) Impeachment of governor 2/3 of membership of Senate (Hawaii Const. art. III, or lieutenant governor ß19)


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